Xerostomia (Dry Mouth)

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by Janet - Have you ever experienced the symptoms of xerostomia or dry mouth? It is more common, and aggravating, than you may think. Let’s have a look at the causes of xerostomia and also some ways of managing the condition.

Causes: xerostomia can be caused by a variety of factors including dehydration, certain medications, treatments for cancer such as radiation and chemotherapy, anxiety, and conditions like Sjorgen’s Syndrome.

Complications:  xerostomia can result in extreme discomfort in the mouth and place you at a higher risk of getting cavities.  The saliva plays an integral role in maintaining oral health.  Not only is saliva the first step in the digestion of food, but it aids in reducing bacterial counts and neutralizes acidity.

Treatment:  there are many ways to help reduce the effects of dry mouth.  First and foremost, if medications are being taken, you may wish to discuss your symptoms with your doctor.  Your medications may be adjusted or changed depending on the severity of your symptoms.  To reduce the symptoms of dry mouth there are currently many products available.  A popular one is Biotene, which is readily available and comes in a rinse as well as a spray.  You could also try keeping a bottle of water with you for frequent sips.  Xylitol mints or gum are a good option to stimulate salivary flow as xylitol also has anti-cavity properties.  In addition to these methods used to make your symptoms more manageable, your dental professional may recommend a professionally applied fluoride treatment to provide a protective factor against cavities.

As always, don’t hesitate to talk to us about your symptoms at your next visit!  We are here to help!