by: Dr. Ian Gray
Having a dry mouth can be uncomfortable and cause a host of problems within the oral cavity. It is important if you have dry mouth to seek suggestions from your oral healthcare professional to help manage it.
Dry mouth is also called Xerostomia and is caused by diminished saliva production by the salivary glands of the oral cavity.
Dry mouth can be caused by a variety of factors;
- A common side effect of prescription medications
- Due to systemic illnesses such as diabetes, eating disorders, sjogren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis -Compromised immune system
- Aging (can cause the salivary glands to shrink)
Dry mouth can cause a host of effects in the mouth. It can put a person at a much higher risk of developing tooth decay, gingivitis, periodontal disease, halitosis (bad breath), burning tongue syndrome, mouth ulcers, and cracks at the corner of the mouth. Oral bacteria accumulate when a lack of saliva exists because saliva is the natural way a mouth cleans itself. As well, saliva is important as it has enzymes in it that help with food digestion.
What can you do to help dry mouth and prevent oral effects;
- Biotene products are excellent for dry mouth as they have enzymes in them that replace the missing ones and soothe the oral cavity.
- Fluoride rinses that are alcohol-free are recommended for daily use to prevent tooth decay
- Sipping water throughout the day is important to keep the teeth clean and the mouth hydrated
- Sugar-free gum and candies, such as Sorbees, are good to stimulate the salivary gland’s production of saliva and to keep the mouth moist
- Brushing at least 3x a day to remove plaque
- Floss twice a day to remove plaque that accumulates below the gum line
As you can see dry mouth can have many effects on the oral cavity. Though it may not to be resolved through the remedies suggested, it can be managed.