DRY MOUTH

Dry mouth or xerostomia refers to a condition in which the salivary glands in your mouth don’t make enough saliva to keep your mouth wet.

 

The main causes of dry mouth are:

- Dehydration

- Medicines – side effects of certain medications

- Breathing through your mouth at night

- Anxiety

- Cancer treatments (radiotherapy or chemotherapy

Dry mouth can be uncomfortable and physically painful due to depletion of saliva in the mouth. The dry mouth sensation can make it difficult to talk or swallow food and drink. The lack of saliva will deprive your teeth if the mineral-rich solution that is normally present which cleanses and protects the teeth. This will result in an increased susceptibility to plaque formation.

Your dentist can recommend treatments which can then increase moisture in your mouth to keep plaque from accumulating and causing gingivitis.

When you visit the dentist, he will be familiar with your individual case and your medical history and will be able to determine the cause of your dry mouth.

Your dentist may recommend:

- Eliminating certain foods- to avoid sugar, this dries the mouth out, avoid tea, coffee and other caffeine beverages and avoid alcohol.

- Increase water consumption

- Drink beverages through a straw if you are having difficulty swallowing

- See your GP regarding medications as they may be able to switch medications or alter the dosage

Products you can buy recommended by your dentist:

- Dry mouth gel-provides relief from pain

- Fluoride toothpaste containing at least 1350-5000ppm (parts per million) it is specifically for dry mouth sufferers, use once a day in place of regular toothpaste preferably at bedtime

- Dry mouth oral rinse

- Chewing sugar free gum to help ease dry mouth

- Sucking sugar free sweets

It is important if you are suffering from a dry mouth to visit the dentist, as they are in the best position to have a thorough look in your mouth and find the cause.