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. Other causes of Dry Mouth include diabetes, hypothyroidism and other auto-immune diseases.
- Saliva buffers acids and corrects low pH, removes debris, remineralizes teeth and adds lubrication to support speech, eating and swallowing.
- Xerostomia will not be noticed until there is a 50% decrease in saliva flow.
- 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 Xylitol (e.g. Ice Breakers Cubes) 2-3 times per day.
- Fluoride varnish treatment at the dental office (fluoride hardens teeth).
- ACT Dry Mouth mouthwash (fluoride rinse with some lubricant)
- Saliva substitute sprays or mouthwashes, e.g. Biotene or Oasis
- Biotene Oral Balance Gel / OraJel Dry Mouth Moisturizing Gel / GUM Hydral Dry Mouth Relief Gel (Apply to your tongue and cheeks before bedtime). Gels will last longer than mouthwashes and sprays, so ideal for overnight treatment.
- Utilize Xylimelts that adhere to the inside of your cheek to help lubricate your mouth.
- Prevident 5000+ toothpaste (prescription).
- Use a room humidifier in the wintertime
- Fluoride trays for at-home delivery, 2 – 3 times per week.
- Medication that stimulates saliva production (prescription).
This is not a complete list of what is available commercially, but we have seen good results with these suggestions.
John F. Carpenter, DMD, MAGD, LLSR
272 Quassaick Ave., New Windsor, NY 12553