Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)


Cortney Davis, RDH

 

Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)

            Xerostomia is a medical term meaning dry mouth due to the lack of saliva present in your mouth. Individuals that have a dry mouth don’t have enough saliva to keep their mouth moist. Saliva is important because it is a person’s primary defense against tooth decay and helps maintain the health of hard and soft tissue in the mouth. Saliva also is important because it washes away small food particles and debris that would sit on the teeth, has shown to protect against gum disease, helps carry minerals that help rebuild he enamel surfaces of teeth, and can also help neutralize acids in the mouth during and after eating.

What causes dry mouth? Dry mouth is a common side effect of many non-prescription and prescription drugs including drugs to treat anxiety, pain, allergies, colds, depression, etc.. Another common cause of dry mouth is side effects from certain medical treatments. Many people undergoing radiation to the head and neck and chemotherapy have damage to the salivary glands and it reduces the amount of saliva produced. The last common cause of dry mouth is from side effects from infections and diseases including but not limited to Sjorgrens Syndrome, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and strokes.

Common symptoms of dry mouth include; frequent thirst, a sticky dry feeling in the mouth, problems speaking, chewing and swallowing, bad breath, and a dry red tongue.

If you have dry mouth make sure you drink plenty of water every day to help stimulate saliva flow, talk to your healthcare provider to find the cause of your dry mouth and what your treatment options are, keep up good dental care by brushing and flossing and going to your dentist for routine check-ups, try over-the-counter saliva substitute’s containing xylitol, and try mouth washes and toothpaste designed for dry mouth such as Biotene.

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources:

http://oralhealth.deltadental.com/Adult/GeneralInformation/22,DD205

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dry-mouth/expert-answers/dry-mouth/faq-20058424

http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/dental-health-dry-mouth#1

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Dry Mouth…What Should I Do?

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Wendy Parker, RDH

Dry Mouth…What Should I Do?

            I know we live in a desert, but our mouths don’t have to BE a desert of dryness!  The first step is to figure out where is the dry mouth, also called xerostomia, is coming from.  There are several factors that can contribute to dry mouth including damage to the salivary glands, medications or medical conditions, and life style habits such as smoking, drinking, or alcohol or caffeine use.  There are so many variables and sometimes it’s a combination of a couple of factors.

Often times, there is nothing you can do to reverse dry mouth, however, here are some of the things you can do to relieve the symptoms of dry mouth (1):

  • Be sure to REGULARLY take sips of water throughout the day. Keep a water bottle with you at all times.
  • Practice good Oral Hygiene – brushing 2x daily and flossing 1x daily. You can also use mouth rinses WITHOUT alcohol in them.  The alcohol will dry out the mouth and makes symptoms worse.
  • Avoid smoking
  • Chew Sugar-Free gum or suck on Sugar-free lozenges
  • Limit alcohol, caffeine, and sugar intake

There are several companies that provide products that aid in dry mouth relief.  Some products and brands work well for some while others work better for others.  It truly is a trial and error process to see what works best for you.

Biotene is one of the biggest companies that focus on relieving dry mouth.  They have an array of products ranging from mouth rinses to chewing gum to saliva substitute.  It is sold in several stores, including Target and Walgreens.  Xylitol also has a variety of products that you can order including nose sprays, toothpastes, mints, and artificial sweeteners. (2) And of course, there are natural remedies that can help relieve symptoms as well.  Here is a good website that has a variety of things you can try to see if they alleviate any discomfort. (3)

http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/natural-medicine/home-remedies/home-remedies-for-dry-mouth1.htm

Dry mouth is NEVER easy to deal with, but hopefully with time and a little patience you’ll find something that will work for you.  If you need more suggestions, please don’t hesitate to ask your hygienist or dentist for other solutions.

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources:

  1. https://www.biotene.com/dry-mouth-health-impacts/dry-mouth-relief/
  2. http://www.epicdental.com/?utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=xylitol-products
  3. http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/natural-medicine/home-remedies/home-remedies-for-dry-mouth1.htm

Dry Mouth

KO6A1012-Edit[1]

Ann Clark RDH 

Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)
Is due to inadequate function of the salivary glands.  It can be temporary due to stress, nervousness or being upset, but if it is continuous it can lead to serious health problems.  Your saliva works in your mouth to help:  talk, chew, spit, wash away food, lubricate for eating, buffers acids, remineralize tooth enamel, and to aid your taste buds.  When your salivary production shuts down your mouth is greatly affected. Saliva is needed to moisten the mouth and digest foods.  It keeps you healthy and prevents infection by controlling bacteria in the mouth.  It is essential to help you taste what you eat and drink.  If untreated, severe dry mouth can lead to increased levels of tooth decay or thrush, an infection of the mouth.
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Causes for Dry Mouth
Dry mouth is not a normal part of aging. Most often xerostomia is a side effect of the increased amounts of medications people take as they age. However, it can be a sign of a possible systemic disease like Sjogrens. Lots of times dry mouth is caused by the medications used to treat the ailment. These may include asthma, urinary incontinence, parkinson’s, epilepsy, stroke, mumps, alzheimer’s, diabetes, HIV, hepatitis C, lupus, arthritis, scleroderma, sarcoidosis, hypothyroidism, depression. The most common medications that cause dry mouth are related to high blood pressure, relaxants, depressants, heart disease, and antihistamines. Dehydration, fever, diarrhea, burns, exercise, blood loss, vomiting, radiation, menopause, surgical removal of glands and cigarettes can also cause dry mouth.
What can I do?
If dry mouth is effecting you it is critical to support your existing healthy oral pH. Dry mouth can cause an increased acidic environment which leads to a higher risk for dental decay. Here are some tips to help with dry mouth:
  • moisten the air overnight (humidifier)
  • avoid sugary and acidic foods
  • use Fluoride toothpaste
  • use Fluoride gel or rinse before bed
  • limit coffee
  • eliminate rinses with alcohol
  • stop tobacco use
  • drink water regularly
  • chew sugarfree gum over candy-the xylitol ingredient promotes production of saliva
  • breath through your nose
  • avoid histamines and decongestants
  • use OTC salivary substitutes: Mouth Kote and Oasis Moisturizing Mouth Spray contain xylitol. Cellulose containing products like Biotine Oral Balance
  • use rinses like Biotene or Act Total Dry Mouth
  • possibly alter your medication or dosage…always consult your medical doctor first.
  • visit your dentist regularly for exams, 2 exams per year
  • come in for your cleaning schedule treatment planned by your dentist

 

Want to learn more? Visit us at http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

 

Sources:

1. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dry-mouth/expert-answers/dry-mouth/faq-20058424

2. http://www.medicinenet.com/dry_mouth/article.htm

3. http://www.aquoral.com/

4. gnackdds.com for picture source 

Fluoride: It’s not just for the kids.

KO6A0990-Edit
Andra Mahoney BS RDH
 
When someone says fluoride, most of us automatically think children. While it is true that fluoride is an important part of our children’s oral health, it is also a necessity for adults as well. Adults, just like children, get cavities. So adults, just like children, should receive fluoride.In fact, there are many age related problems that increase our need for fluoride.Some examples include:

  • Eating disorders
  • Drug or Alcohol abuse
  • Lack of regular professional dental care
  • Poor Oral Hygiene
  • Exposed root surfaces of teeth, recession
  • Decreased salivary flow, resulting in dry mouth
  • Poor diet
  • Existing fillings
  • Tooth enamel defects
  • Undergoing head and neck radiation therapy

I’d like to address recession and dry mouth specifically, since those are very common problems.

Recession- Recession is when the gums have receded below the crown of the tooth, exposing the root to the tooth. 

IMG_0074      IMG_0076.

This creates two main problems. First, the roots of the teeth do not have enamel, they are covered by cementum.

IMG_0073

As we all know, enamel is the hard material that protects the surface of the tooth. Enamel is 70 times stronger than cementum. This, unfortunately, means that the roots of the teeth are more prone to decay than the crowns of the teeth. The best recommendation for recession and the prevention of decay is fluoride. Make sure you are using a soft bristled brush with soft brushing (to prevent further recession) in combination with fluoride toothpaste. Also, you may received fluoride treatments at your dental appointments. The most beneficial would be fluoride varnish. Your hygienist is able to apply this for you at each appointment. The varnish coats the tooth in a protective layer of fluoride to aid in the prevention of decay.

The second problem that recession creates is sensitivity. When the root is exposed tiny little tubules open up on the tooth and the chances for sensitivity increase. This makes eating or drinking cold or sweet things painful. You will often notice a sharp zing when the area of recession comes in contact with cold or sweet items. The best recommendation for sensitivity due to recession is fluoride. Sensitivity toothpaste, such as Sensodyne, contain an increased amount of fluoride (as opposed to regular toothpaste) to assist in the prevention of sensitivity (and decay).

IMG_0077

Fluoride varnish is also helpful as it coats the tooth and temporarily closes the tubules decreasing the sensitivity. 

IMG_0075

Xerostomia

The last topic that I wanted to address is dry mouth, also known as xerostomia. Many adults take medicine and the most common side effect of many medications is dry mouth. A decrease in saliva increases your risk for decay. Saliva is important in washing away bits of food, neutralizing acids created by bacteria, as well as containing minerals that help prevent tooth decay. If you are having problems with dry mouth, try rinsing with a fluoride mouth was or a saliva substitute.

  IMG_0079    

All these reasons and many more show the importance of fluoride use for adults. If you have any other questions about the other problems that fluoride can help with, feel free to make an appointment with us and we’ll answer all your questions! 

 

Want to learn more? Visit us at http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com/

 

References:

Fluoride Treatments in the Dental Office ADA: http://www.ada.org/sections/scienceAndResearch/pdfs/patient_72.pdf

Can Fluoride Help Adults? Colgate: http://www.colgate.com/app/CP/US/EN/OC/Information/Articles/Oral-and-Dental-Health-at-Any-Age/Adults/Adult-Maintenance-and-Care/article/Can-Fluoride-Help-Adults.cvsp

Recommendations for Using Fluoride to Prevent and Control Dental Caries in the United States CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5014a1.htm

Pictures:

http://www.drneal.com/pages/library/images/clip_image002.jpg

http://worcesterdentalimplants.com/_ah/editor/images/DSC_0258.JPG

http://www.vaughns-1-pagers.com/local/sunnyvale-dentist/tooth-anatomy.gif

http://www.beffadental.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/imbvarnish_brush1.gif

http://www.m.sensodyne.com/?redirectfrom=www.sensodyne.us+R-https%3a%2f%2fwww.google.com%2f

http://pics2.ds-static.com/prodimg/380812/300.JPG