Dry mouth is a medical condition also called xerostomia which can have various causes, many common medications and medical conditions can cause dry mouth. People who suffer from dry mouth have decreased saliva flow. Saliva is important to maintain a healthy mouth because it helps wash away food particles and limit bacteria as well as helping to neutralize acids in food and assist in the remineralization of teeth. Dry mouth can put you at a higher risk for tooth decay and sores and ulcers in the mouth.
If you have dry mouth here a few ideas to help :
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day, sip frequently, especially while eating. Avoid very cold and very hot water, room temperature is best.
- Sucking on sugar-free candy can help stimulate increased saliva flow, especially candy sweetened with Xylitol. Xylitol has the added benefit of helping destroy the bacteria that cause tooth decay.
- Since you can’t drink water while sleeping, using a humidifier at night can help put moisture in the air and can help minimize drying out of the mouth tissue while you are asleep.
- Avoid caffeine and astringent or dehydrating beverages, like coffee, tea, and alcohol, as well as sugary or carbonated beverages. And… don’t smoke!
- Remineralizing toothpastes such as MI Paste and Clinpro 5000 can help keep teeth healthy, and some patients can benefit from wearing these products in trays at night. Special mouthwashes may also help. Avoid mouthwashes that contain alcohol.
- If your dry mouth is severe, talk to your doctor about it, there are some prescriptions that may be able to help if your doctor thinks they are right for you.
Dry mouth is unpleasant and unfortunately hard to prevent for many people who rely on certain types of medications or have certain conditions. If you know or suspect that you have dry mouth, talk to Dr. Vancil at your next appointment about what possible protocols might be right for you and if any of the products we carry at Mall of Georgia Dentistry might help you best manage it. But by taking some of the the steps above you can help prevent damage and relieve discomfort and keep yourself smiling!