What is Dry Mouth (Xerostomia) and Why Should You Be Concerned?

Drinking water to alleviate dry mouth

(Hint: Think Desert)

One of the most serious problems facing the dental profession today Is dry mouth (xerostomia).

First of all, let’s look at what produces dry mouth. There are actually many reasons you could experience dry mouth including:

  1. Dehydration
  2. Medications – there are over 400 medications that create dry mouth as a side effect
  3. Smoking
  4. Aging – aging salivary glands naturally produce less saliva

Why is dry mouth such a problem?

Your saliva not only contains enzymes (naturally produced chemical compounds) that aid in the digestive process, but it also contains antibacterial elements that fight tooth decay and gum disease.

So, you can imagine that without an adequate quantity and quality of saliva, our mouths can suffer from the ravages of tooth decay and gum disease.

What are the signs of dry mouth?

  1. A cottony feeling in the mouth
  2. Difficulty in chewing food properly
  3. Difficulty swallowing
  4. Alterations in taste

 What can you do?

There are many things we can do to help alleviate xerostomia.

  1. First on my list is keeping adequately hydrated, by drinking enough water.
  2. Use products like Biotene that are specifically designed to help alleviate the problem.
  3. Avoid foods high in acid content like sodas, which can demineralize the teeth.
  4. Chew Xylitol gum. Xylitol is an all natural sugar substitute that kills the bacteria that cause tooth decay and the very act of chewing stimulates salivary flow!

Also, call our office and request a salivary test! There are new diagnostic tests that are easy and painless that will guide us in customizing a treatment for you if you are suffering from dry mouth!

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About Laurence H. Stone, D.D.S.

Dr. Larry Stone's love of dentistry, strong skill set and accreditations by national dental associations instill confidence in general and cosmetic dentistry patients alike. Dr. Stone is a 1973 graduate of Temple University Dental School, where he was a member of the Oral Surgery Honor Society. Before opening his Doylestown practice, Dr. Stone served as a Senior Assistant Dental Surgeon with the U.S. Public Health Service. He has also been a Clinical Instructor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine and is currently on staff at Doylestown Hospital.