What Causes Xerostomia (Dry Mouth)? By Steven P. Thompson on May 15, 2019

What Causes Xerostomia (Dry Mouth)?

Why Do I Have Dry Mouth?

Many people suffer from dry mouth and have difficulty finding relief to combat this ailment. Dry mouth, or xerostomia, can be a side effect of many different medications and/or cancer treatment. In fact, there are over 500 medications that cause dry mouth. Symptoms can worsen in severity when taking multiple medications at the same time.

Problems it Can Cause

Dry mouth can be extremely uncomfortable, but it also fosters the development of preventable oral diseases like gingivitis, gum disease, and tooth decay. Normal salivary flow is important as it lubricates the mouth to preven tplaque and bacteria from adhering to the teeth. Natural enzymes present in saliva also help with digestion and participate in the fight against tooth decay. 

Steps to Prevent Xerostomia

An easy first step is to be sure your drinking plenty of water.  Aim for at least 6-8 glasses of water each day, preferably tap water, which is fluoridated. Consuming sports drinks, caffeine, soda, powdered drink mixes or dietetic drinks can exacerbate dry mouth and actually make it worse.  A good rule of thumb is to keep a small refillable bottle with you during the day to keep track of your consumption.  Also, keeping one on a bedside table will help fight against dry mouth should you wake during the night.

Night time can be particularly difficult as salivary flow naturally diminishes during slumber.  Many people think that popping a mint, lozenge or hard candy in their mouth before bed will help with xerostomia. Unfortunately, the opposite is true.  Most of these are sure to contain some form of sugar which can be absolutely devastating to someone with dry mouth.  Instead, look for products containing the natural sweetener xylitol.  Products containing xylitol are easy to find and do not promote tooth decay, but rather fight against it.  Some good products to consider are the Biotene line of products, xyli-melt lozenges and prescription Neutra-Sal.

Our Plano Dentist Can Help You Fight Dry Mouth Symptoms

At Imagecare Dental Group, we can recommend appropriate products available through our office, local pharmacy, or grocery store that can help combat dry mouth.  In some cases, a variety or combination of products may be necessary depending on your need and severity.  Our Plano dentist and dental hygienists have lots of experience dealing with this common problem and are your best resources for helping you combat it successfully.

Struggling with dry mouth? It’s more important than ever to schedule a check-up at Imagecare Dental Group in Plano. Call today!

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  • Academy of General Dentistry
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  • International Congress of Oral Implantologists

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