XEROSTOMIA (Dry Mouth)
- Affects approximately 25% of the population.
- Increases susceptibility to decay (cavities) and fungal infection. Dentures become more difficult to retain.
- Many medications cause a decrease in saliva flow.
- Saliva buffers acids and corrects low pH, removes debris, remineralizes teeth and adds lubrication to support speech, eating and swallowing.
- A patient may lose up to 50% of their protective saliva before they become aware of the problem.
- If Dry Mouth goes unmanaged, there is a 3x greater risk of cavities.
- It is important to be proactive.
- Avoid sticky, carbohydrate-rich foods, eliminate snacking and lower your sugar intake.
- Avoid citrus juices, soda and Gatorade-type drinks which contain sugars and lowers pH. Sugar- based gum, candy, mints and cough drops should also be avoided.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol (diuretics), and smoking.
- Avoid alcohol-based mouthwashes (e.g. Listerine).
- Sip water throughout the day and keep bedside.
- Maintain vigilant oral hygiene. Dental hygiene visits at least 3 times per year.
- Chew sugar free gum with Ca/PO4 (e.g. Trident XTRA CARE) or Xylitol (e.g. Ice Breakers Cubes) 2-3 times per day.
- Fluoride varnish treatment at the dental office (fluoride hardens teeth).
- ACT mouthwash (fluoride rinse)
- Prevident 5000+ toothpaste (prescription).
- Sugar-free yogurt to prevent fungal infection.
- Saliva substitute sprays or mouthwashes.
- Biotene Oral Balance or OraJel Dry Mouth Moisturizing Gel (Apply to your tongue and cheeks before bedtime).
- MI Paste (Calcium and phosphate that will help with remineralization).
- Use a room humidifier in the wintertime.
- Medication that stimulates saliva production (prescription).
John F. Carpenter, DMD, MAGD
272 Quassaick Ave., New Windsor, NY 12553