Xerostomia (dry mouth) is not a a disease, but rather a symptom caused by salivary glands not producing enough saliva in your mouth to keep it from drying. Dry mouth can occur with age, while taking certain medication or as a result of cancer treatments. Lack of proper hydration is the most common reason for dry mouth. Saliva is not only responsible for your mouth to stay hydrated, it also prevents tooth decay, neutralizing acids produced by bacteria, which in turn limits grows of unwanted bacteria in your mouth and washes away food particles. Saliva enhances your abilities to taste and helps with chewing and swallowing food. Finally, enzymes in saliva assist in digestive process of your food intake. Dry mouth can range from very minor and barely noticeable to very severe, especially while taking some medication. In severe cases dry mouth can cause major impact on your general and oral health, affecting your teeth and gums, reflecting on your appetite and enjoyment of food. Treatment of Dry Mouth depends on the cause.
Reduce the Symptoms of Dry Mouth:
- You can try over the counter saliva substitutes that contain same ingredient, xylitol. Some of those products are Biotene Oral Balance Moisturizing gel, Mouth Kote or Oasis Moisturizing Mouth Sprays, contain carboxymethylcellulose or hydroxyethyl cellulose to help saliva production
- Alcohol and caffeine cause dryness and irritation of your mouth.
- Do not use mouthwash containing alcohol
- Stop or reduce use of tobacco – smoking, chewing
- Sugary foods and candies increase the risk of tooth decay and cause dry mouth.
- Salty or overly spicy food can cause irritation and dry mouth symptoms
- Over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants can worsen your dry mouth
- Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss your Teeth
- Use a fluoride rinse or brush-on fluoride gel before bedtime
- Ask your dentist if you can benefit from prescription fluoride toothpaste, or toothpaste containing betaine or a tooth gel to neutralize bacteria acids.
Easiest oral health tip – see your dentist at least twice a year to have your teeth examined and plaque removed, which will help prevent tooth decay and keep your mouth healthy and moist.
Lakefront Family Dental will be happy to schedule you in for your comprehensive dental check up.