If you are experiencing frequent thirst; problems speaking, tasting, chewing or swallowing; a red, raw tongue; or a sticky or dry feeling in the mouth, you may have Xerostomia. Xerostomia is the medical term for dry mouth due to decreased or absent saliva. Dry mouth is quite common and can be caused by many medications, medical conditions, nerve damage, dehydration, smoking or chewing tobacco, or radiation therapy occurring near the mouth.
A few common types of medications that can cause dry mouth include those for anti-anxiety, allergies, and high blood pressure; and antidepressants, stimulants, sedatives, and diuretics.
Besides being uncomfortable for those who experience it, dry mouth puts you at a higher risk for cavities since your saliva production is lower. It can also contribute to an increase in oral yeast infections and gum disease.
What can be done about it?
- Limit frequent carbohydrate snacking or sipping sugary beverages (this includes diet soda due to the acid). With each sip or bite, your teeth are under attack from acid for 20-30 minutes.
- If you have hard candies or throat lozenges, make sure they are sugar free or sweetened with xylitol.
- During the dry winter months, use a small humidifier by your bed, especially if you are a mouth breather.
- Don’t consume too much caffeine, as it will dry out your mouth.
- Sip a lot of water throughout the day
- Avoid mouthwashes with alcohol.
- See your dentist regularly!
How to fight Dry Mouth
While there is no magical cure, patients have given good feedback on the following products:
Oasis Mouthwash or spray (Amazon)
Halters Lemon Bonbons lozenges (Amazon)
We also recommend products available through our office:
MI paste. Helps lubricate, remineralize enamel and neutralize ph
Prescription strength fluoride toothpaste to prevent cavities
LOLOz lollipops to prevent cavities
If you are experiencing Xerostomia, reach out to our office to set up an appointment to talk about your options!