Dry Mouth is an extremely bothersome condition for many people. Can you imagine having no saliva in your mouth?
If you struggle swallowing food—or if food sticks to your teeth—or if you wake up with parched mouth and lips—you may be looking for a solution that will make you feel better.
You may not realize you have low salivary flow. You only know that your mouth does not feel or function as it should.
Xerostomia or Hyposalivation (technical terms for dry mouth), often goes along with a more serious medical diagnosis. You should deal with Xerostomia before beginning medical treatments that will cause dry mouth.
Here we explain how to recognize and manage Xerostomia:
Signs and Symptoms
Please let your dentist know if you have one of the following symptoms:
- Dryness or “cotton mouth” feeling
- Cracking lips, “parched” tongue, sore throat, dry cough
- Lips or cheeks sticking to your teeth
- Persistent bad breath
- Desire for mints, cough drops or hard candy to increase saliva flow
- Lipstick sticks to your teeth
- Sudden onset of decay
Generalized oral discomfort is the main symptom of Dry Mouth. Your mouth just “does not feel right.”
Contact our office if you do not like the way your mouth feels. We can help increase your salivary flow and deal with the symptoms of Dry Mouth.
Be aware of the conditions that lead to decreased salivary flow. We see patients who are perplexed about suddenly getting multiple cavities or gum problems.
They have never heard of Xerostomia and are not aware that their salivary glands are dried up.
Patients often know that their mouth feels miserable but do not realize that their salivary glands have dried up. I explain how to manage Dry Mouth. We are able to prevent more serious dental problems.
Dr. Bill Cranford
Please talk to one of our dentists if you fit in to one of the categories listed below. They will start you on a plan that will avoid the discomfort and dental problems before they start.
Common causes of dry mouth:
Our salivary glands, like other parts of our bodies, do not function as well as they once did as we grow older. We often see elderly patients struggle with decay due to reduced salivary flow.
Over 500 medications, many of them over-the-counter, have a listed side effect of dry mouth. Taking medicine is the main cause of Xerostomia.
Oral, tonsil, and throat cancer treatments often require large concentrated doses of radiation to shrink the tumors. Salivary glands are sometimes “zapped”, along with the cancer cells. This reduces salivary flow.
Systemic Health Conditions
Life altering diseases often lead to chronic Dry Mouth. These include:
- Sjogren’s Syndrome (autoimmune disease)
- Uncontrolled diabetes and hypertension
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia
- Sleep apnea and CPAP use
- Mouth breathing
At Cranford Dental we have helped many patients reduce the discomfort of dry mouth caused by disease or age. Please contact our office if you or a loved one are dealing with one of these conditions. We can help avoid related dental problems.
Our Dry Mouth Advice
The first step in treating Hyposalivation is dealing with medicines. Prescription drugs are the main controllable cause of this condition.
Review your medicine list with your physician, pharmacist, and dentist. Can any medicines be reduced or replaced with a drug that does not dry out mouth?
Pilocarpine or Cevimeline are drugs that help increase salivary flow. Ask your doctor and dentist if they are safe for you.
Manage Your Mouth
Develop a plan to make your mouth feel good even with reduced salivary flow. This will make your you feel healthier overall.
Sip water during the day. Keep a bottle of water by your bed and take sips during the night.
Ask your hygienist to explain the “sip-swish-swallow” technique to reduce plaque on your teeth.
Be aware that Dry Mouth will make tooth decay skyrocket. Cavities will occur in a very short time if you do not set rules to avoid sugar.
Regulate soft drink consumption. Ask your hygienist for a list of the drinks that are notorious sodas for causing decay. Avoid these drinks.
Do not suck on hard candies or cough drops.
Products that Help
We see good results in patients who use these products to moisten the mouth:
- Sugar free gum – We recommend chewing four sticks per day for 10 minutes each. Studies show that gum sweetened with Xylitol (like Spry) aid in reducing dental decay. Caution: Keep Xylitol away from pets.
- Xylimelts – These are small tablet that you put on your gum. They stimulate gums to produce saliva.
- Biotine Rinse – Use Biotine up to 5 times a day. This is an alcohol free rinse that helps lubricate the mouth and manage bad breath and other Dry Mouth symptoms.
- Biotine Toothpaste, Gels, Sprays – These contain lubricants that help keep your mouth moist.
Keep your Teeth Clean
Add an electric toothbrush and Water Pic to your oral care routine. Your hygienist will advise on what products will work best for you.
Keep Air Moist
Use a vaporizer or humidifier in your bedroom to make the air less dry, particularly in the winter.
Use a high fluoride paste like Prevident or Fluoridex if prescribed by your dentist. This will help protect your enamel from cavities. Ask your hygienist to instruct on how to use this toothpaste.
Dry Mouth and Cranford Dental
Dry mouth symptoms can be miserable. Please talk to your dentist and hygienist about your concerns.
They will help you feel more comfortable and prevent rapid deterioration of your oral health.
I love for patients to report back after they begin managing Dry Mouth. They feel so much better overall when their mouth feels right!
Dr. Bill Cranford
Please keep in mind the symptoms, causes, and treatments we shared. The right time to deal with Xerostomia is before it starts. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Our dentists and hygienists are trained to recognize and deal with Dry Mouth. Discuss this at your next dental check-up or call our office at 803-324-7670 to discuss your concerns.
We would be happy to share our expertise with you.