XEROSTOMIA

WHAT IS XEROSTOMIA?

Xerostomia, or dry mouth, is caused by a decrease in saliva production.  This decrease in saliva production may be caused by medications, changes in hormones, autoimmune disorders, head and neck radiation therapy, salivary gland infections, chemotherapy, dehydration, or seasonal allergies.  If patients experience persistent dryness of the oral mucosa, this may increase cavities especially on any exposed root surfaces, may cause changes in taste, and may cause oral yeast infections.  It is important to see your dentist for biannual exams to help detect cavities early and maintain gum health.

If you experience dry mouth, try  one of the following:

  1.  Sip cool water during the day to keep yourself well-hydrated
  2. Try drinking 2% or whole milk with meals.  Milk has moisturizing properties and helps some people swallow.
  3. Use a cool air humidifier when sleeping.  Make sure to clean and change the water in it daily.
  4. Do not use alcohol-containing mouthwashes as it can irritate the oral tissues.
  5. Use sugar-free candies or gum which contain Xylitol (not Sorbitol).  Chewing gum helps to stimulate saliva flow.

There are several OTC products available to treat the symptoms of dry mouth.  There are mouthwashes, toothpastes, gels and tablets.  Products like these help to alleviate the symptoms of dry mouth and can be used as often as needed.  Our dental office will recommend the best products for each patient.



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