Richard Warner, D.D.S.
Warner Family Dentistry in Council Bluffs
Dry mouth (xerostomia) may not sound serious, but if you’ve ever experienced it you know the impact on quality of life can be huge. The most common cause is as a side effect of a medication, and many prescription drugs are culprits. The second most frequent cause is diabetes. Other medical conditions, radiation treatment, and stress can all be contributory. If you are not sure why you have it talk to your dentist; they can help you determine the source of the problem.
Here’s what to try to bring the symptoms of xerostomia under control:
- Sip cool water throughout the day.
- Put ice chips in your mouth and let them melt (never chew ice; this can break teeth!).
- Drink milk with meals; milk has a moisturizing effect and can help people swallow their food.
- Drink caffeine-free beverages.
- Avoid anything with alcohol in it. This includes mouthwash; check the label and choose an alcohol-free variety.
- If you can, sleep on your side. This reduces mouth breathing, which drys out the mouth.
- Use a cool air humidifier in your home in winter, particularly in your bedroom. Start it an hour or two before bed.
- Chew sugar-free gum and suck on sugar-free candy to stimulate saliva flow. Look for products that contain Xylitol, which prevents cavities.
- Use a lip balm frequently during the day and at bedtime; chose one that has hydrous lanolin.
- Apply a moisturizing gel at nighttime; spread on tissues.
Your mouth may not really be dry, you may just think it is.
If you examine your mouth closely in a mirror and their appears to be ample saliva yet your mouth feels like the desert sand, there is an explanation. Only one of the major saliva glands-- the parotid-- secretes a watery type saliva; the other major and minor salivary glands produce a much more viscous saliva. It’s the watery saliva that gives your the perception that all is normal, so you may indeed have a wet mouth yet still feel uncomfortable.
Commercial products to try:
Mouth-Kote (contains citric acid; produces saliva as sucking on a lemon would, but without the tooth-damaging acidity of the lemon)
Optimoist (also contains citric acid)
Sugarless gum (Biotene, Eclipse, Extra, Orbit, Trident, Xylifresh)
SalivaSure tablets (dissolve table under tongue; easy to carry with you)
Saliva substitutes and moisturizers-
Oral Balance Dry Mouth Moisturizing liquid
Roxane Saliva Substitute
Stoppers4 Dry Mouth Spray
Biotene Dry Mouth Oral Rinse
Try these simple things first...
1.Chew sugarless gum; this stimulates saliva flow.
2.Keep a bottle of water handy and with you at all times; sip water throughout the day.
3.In winter use a humidifier in your home.
Material on this page taken from information and research provided by Karen Baker, M.S., R.Ph, of the University of Iowa Colleges of Dentistry and Pharmacy, and Dr. Hardeep Chehal, of Creighton University College of Dentistry.