What is “Xerostomia”? – Dry mouth

“When your mouth makes little or no saliva, it affects more than just your thirst. Saliva helps you taste and digest what you eat and drink. It flushes food particles from your teeth and reduces the acids that cause tooth decay.”

Common causes of dry mouth:

Over 400 prescription medicines, certain auto-immune diseases and medical conditions including asthma and cancer treatments can cause dry mouth. Many over the counter medications including sleep aids, allergy meds, antihistamines, and decongestants. Smoking and tobacco products, also breathing through your mouth rather than nose due to obstruction or nasal congestion create dry mouth.

Oral Risks:

Increased risk for infection, bad breath, tooth decay, gum disease, mouth sores and difficulty swallowing.

Recommended Treatment:

  • Chew sugar-free gum, with xylitol, or suck on sugar-free hard candies to stimulate the flow of saliva.
  • Limit your caffeine and sugary drink intake.
  • Don’t use mouthwashes that contain alcohol because they can be drying.
  • Stop all tobacco use if you smoke or chew tobacco.
  • Sip water regularly
  • There are several prescriptions and over the counter rinses including Biotene and Colgate Hydris. Sprays and lozenges including Biotene and Xylimelts can relieve symptoms reducing the risks associated with dry mouth.

Regular dental care combined with excellent brushing and daily floss can help reduce the risks of infection. Talk to your dentist and hygienist for more information and tips!