Many people suffer with dry mouth, a condition which is difficult to diagnose and treat. Patients who take multiple prescriptions are more likely to have dry mouth since it is a common side effect of drugs used to treat depression, anxiety, pain, allergies (antihistamines and decongestants), diarrhea, urinary incontinence, Sjogren’s Syndrome and Parkinson’s disease. Medical treatments such as radiation or chemotherapy may also lead to dry mouth if the salivary glands are damaged. It is important to work with your dentist and physician to change medications that cause dry mouth or adjust their dosage to alleviate the symptoms due to dry mouth.
What should I do to manage dry mouth?
To help minimize dry mouth:
- Drink sips of water frequently to keep your mouth moist and loosen mucus.
- Suck on sugar-free candy, ice chips or popsicles to stimulate saliva flow. Do not chew ice since doing so may damage your teeth.
- Chew sugarless gum containing xylitol to help stimulate saliva flow.
- Avoid the use of mouth rinses or mouthwashes that contain alcohol or peroxide, since they will dry out oral tissues.
- Use over the counter toothpaste that contains fluoride.
- Brush and floss your teeth twice a day. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush on your teeth and gums.
- Visit your dentist twice a year for a checkup and ask your dentist about any medications that may cause dry mouth. He or she may recommend the use of artificial saliva products to ease your symptoms. These over the counter products are available in a rinse or spray.
- Avoid the use of caffeine, alcohol, acidic beverages (fruit juice) or soda, all of which may cause dry mouth.
- Avoid the use of all tobacco which encourages the growth of bacteria in your mouth and irritates the nose and sinuses making them vulnerable to infections.
- Minimize the intake of salty or spicy foods, since that may cause irritation if you have dry mouth.
- Moisten the foods you eat with broths, sauces, gravy, creams and butter or margarine to soften food and make it easier to consume.
- Use a moisturizer on your lips to reduce irritation.
- Use a humidifier at night when you sleep to help moisten nasal passages.
In the meantime, if you have any questions regarding dry mouth, do not hesitate to ask Dr. Melchers or his staff. We are here to address any of your dental health issues and help decide the best course of treatment for our patients. Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org to see how we can best meet your dental care needs.