“Dry mouth”, or xerostomia, is an annoying condition that I am seeing almost daily in the office. Dry mouth is actually a symptom of an underlying problem and not a disease in itself. It is usually caused by medications but can also be related to various systemic diseases, chemotherapy, radiation to the head and neck, dehydration and certain life style activities such as tobacco use.
Most people who have dry mouth are generally aware of it. Symptoms include problems swallowing and chewing, alterations in taste, bad breath, dry lips, trouble wearing dentures, rampant tooth decay, and thick and sticky saliva to name a few.
Beyond annoying symptoms that dry mouth can present, there are more important reasons to be concerned. It is important that we maintain adequate amounts of saliva in our mouth in order to neutralize acids produced by plaque, moisten food to enable swallowing, and control the bacteria that lead to decay and gum disease.
So here is a short list of things you can do to alleviate the symptoms of dry mouth:
- Suck on ice during the day.
- Drink water frequently.
- Sleep with a humidifier in the bedroom.
- Minimize alcohol consumption.
- Refrain from smoking or chewing tobacco.
- Check with your physician to rule out systemic causes and to see if any medications causing dry mouth can be changed.
- Use prescription fluoride products obtained through the dental office.
- Make liberal use of over the counter products. (See me for a complete list!)
- Use only non-alcoholic mouth rinses.
- Avoid caffeinated beverages and soda.
In the meantime, if you have any questions regarding dry mouth, don’t hesitate ask us the next time you visit our office Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA , or feel free to contact me or the staff at my office any time at 215-230-7667.