Patient Education

Patient Education

What Causes Dry Mouth?

Tags: , , Dental Education, Dental Hygiene, Dry Mouth
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Dry mouth or Xerostomia is a condition when the amount of saliva present in the mouth is reduced. This reduction can vary from a little to a lot to the total loss of saliva. The amount of saliva a normal person produces during the day is about 2 cups. The ability of a patient to detect a decrease in saliva is when the volume of saliva decreases about 50%, or down to one cup.

Patients who have a decreased salivary output will notice the sensation of stickiness in the mouth with the inside of the cheeks and the tongue sticking to the teeth. They will also notice difficulty in swallowing during meals and that the saliva is more ropey or foamy.

What Causes Dry Mouth:

  • Medications
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Tobacco
  • Anxiety
  • Mouth breathing
  • Irradiation during cancer treatment
  • Menopause
  • Systemic Disease:  Diabetes, Parkinson’s, Sjogren’s Syndrome, salivary gland stones or tumors

More than 400 medications can cause the salivary glands to produce less saliva:

  • Antihistimines
  • Decongestants
  • Diuretics
  • Tranuilizers
  • Antidepressants

Signs of Dry Mouth (Xerostomia):

  • Altered tongue and mucosal surface
  • Sticky lips/dry lips
  • Excessive plaque accumulation
  • Cavities/abrasion/erosion
  • Oral fungal infections
  • Parotid gland enlargement
  • Difficulty in swallowing dry food
  • Need to sip water all day to make the mouth comfortable
  • Bad breath

Consequences of Dry Mouth:

  • Bad breath
  • Excessive plaque accumulation
  • Oral fungal infections
  • Cavities

Dry Mouth Management

It is difficult to cure dry mouth, so management of dry mouth is critical for oral health, tooth integrity, and overall systemic health. The important aspect of dry mouth management is preventing all the possible ill effects of Dry Mouth. Therefore, the patient must attempt to keep the mouth moist and use adjuncts which will help prevent growth of harmful bacteria, reduce plaque accumulation, and help prevent decay.

The following list of products are important in the management of Dry Mouth:

  • Toothpastes
  • Topical Moisturizers
  • Topical Sprays
  • Lip Care
  • Sugar Free Gum and Mints
  • High Fluoride Toothpastes
  • Fluoride Rinses
  • Fluoride Gels with Applicator Trays
  • Fluoride Varnish
  • MI Paste
  • Xylitol: a natural artificial sweetener with prevents tooth decay
  • 10% Carbamide Peroxide Gel with Applicator Tray
  • Bad Breath Products:  rinses, tongue scraper and toothpaste

If you have any questions after reading this information, please feel free to call us at (903) 455-7673, so we can discuss what will work best for you.

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