Dry Mouth and What You Can Do About ItFebruary 27th, 2012 | Posted by in Uncategorized
Top Reasons for dry mouth:
1. Medications such as decongestants, antihistamines, and diuretics are just a few examples of medications that contribute to dry mouth.
2. Medical Treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation can injure salivary glands leading to a dry mouth. Head and neck surgery can also be a contributing factor.
3. Dehydration can leave a mouth dry. Make sure to drink plenty of water on hot days, exercising or when running a fever.
4. Open Mouth Breathing is common for many sleeping individuals. This significantly dries out the mouth, especially during the dry, winter months.
5. Tobacco Use of any kind will cause saliva flow to decrease.
6. Aging can cause decreased salivary gland function.
A dry mouth can have devastating effects on the oral cavity. Saliva’s function is to lubricate the soft tissues, such as the gums, tongue and insides of cheeks. When the oral cavity dries out all of these tissues can become red and irritated causing pain and discomfort. Taste can become altered. Saliva contains chemicals to help fight bacteria. Without it gum disease can set in and/or worsen. The saliva also helps to buffer or neutralize acid. When acids are left unchecked an increase in tooth decay occurs.
What can you do about dry mouth?
1. Chewing sugar-free gum or using sugar-free mints help to stimulate saliva flow.
2. Talk to your physician about alternative medications that do not cause dry mouth.
3. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Pop tends to contribute dry mouth and is highly acidic causing tooth decay.
4. Use a fluoridated toothpaste and mouth rinse to help protect teeth from cavities.
5. Ask your dentist, physician or pharmacist about saliva replacement products such as Biotene.
6. If you use a C-Pap machine for sleep apnea be sure to use the humidifier option to assist in reducing dry mouth symptoms.