Friday, November 20, 2015

How To Treat Dry Mouth

Saliva helps us digest our food and cleanse our teeth by washing away food particles. When our body isn’t producing enough saliva a condition called dry mouth occurs (also called xerostomia).

What Causes Dry Mouth:
  • The most common cause of dry mouth is a side effect from medication.
  • Chemotherapy drugs can change the nature of saliva and the amount produced.
  • Head/neck injury or surgery that caused nerve damage.
  • Certain health conditions can cause dry mouth; autoimmune diseases or stroke.
  • Snoring and breathing with your mouth open.
  • Smoking or chewing tobacco can increase dry mouth symptoms.
  • Methamphetamine use can cause severe dry mouth.
Symptoms from dry mouth:
  • Soreness in the mouth and/or throat
  • Cracking at the corners of the mouth
  • Inside the mouth looking red and parched
  • Food just not tasting like it used to
  • Difficulty speaking, chewing or swallowing.
  • A tendency to wake up more often during the night
  • Bad breath
Side effects from dry mouth:
  • Mouth sores
  • Increased plaque
  • Tooth decay
  • Gum disease (gingivitis)
  • Mouth infections.
What can be done to help with dry mouth?
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your mouth moist.
  • Take frequent sips of water if you’re mouth is feeling dry.
  • Brush your teeth with fluoridated toothpaste and use a fluoridated mouth rinse.
  • Use a humidifier in your home to help bring moisture into the air.
  • Avoid any products that can make symptoms worse: caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, sugary/acidic/spicy or salty foods
  • Saliva substitute products are available over the counter at the pharmacy (mouth spray, gels and rinse)
  • Ask your dental hygienist for more tips.
Dental Hygienist

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