Solutions to Dry Mouth

posted in: General Dentistry | 0

Because there are many causes and side effects of dry mouth, there are many ways to manage it. If your physician can determine the cause of the dry mouth, it may be possible to provide a specific cure. If the dryness is due to medication, your doctor may be able to reduce the dosage or change to a less drying medication. Unfortunately, the nature of many diseases means that the continuation of the medication takes precedence over the problems related to the dry mouth.

There are things that can be done to stimulate more saliva. One simple solution could be mechanical stimulants such as foods that require a lot of chewing like apples, carrots, or celery. Sipping water or other sugar free liquids frequently while eating and throughout the day can often help. A humidifier will reduce drying with breathing. Chewing gums without sugars such as Biotene, Eclipse, Orbit, and Trident are helpful without increasing potential for decay. Over the counter saliva substitutes like Salivart, Xerolube, or Oral Balance Moisturizing Gel help moisten and lubricate the mouth when there is inadequate saliva. There are other products such as Mouth-Kote or Optimoist and the Salitron System manufactured by Bisonics, which is an electric reflex salivary stimulation system. There are prescription medications that increase the flow of saliva but they have side effects.

From a dental point of view the reduction of saliva can cause a dramatic increase in active decay. It is usually associated with increased build-up of plaque around the gumline of teeth with recurrent decay around existing fillings and crowns or on the roots. Increased use of fluorides (similar management to children) will reduce this problem. This can take the form of mouth rinse with fluoride, prescription strength fluorides, or even custom dental trays to hold the fluoride around the teeth longer if the problem is severe.