Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)
Saliva - an important body fluid
Saliva is one of nature’s many wondrous workhorses that are forever quietly working to ensure the quality of our lives. The major functions of saliva include lubrication, antimicrobial effects, buffering (neutralizing) of tooth acids, remineralization of teeth, and aiding speaking, eating, tasting, swallowing and digestion.
You have a condition called “Xerostomia” (zeer-oh-STO-mia) (Dry Mouth ) when there is a serious decrease of salivary secretion.
The most striking oral change occurring as a result of xerostomia is a severe and rapid increase in dental caries. Restoration of the teeth may be difficult due to recurrent decay, and teeth can be lost quickly if appropriate intervention, particularly preventive intervention, is not carried out. Patients with Xerostomia also often complain of oral soreness and discomfort. There can be a significant increase in the risk of oral infections and mucosal ulcerations. Lack of moisture may also compromise the retention of dentures.
Some causes of Xerostomia
Some patients suffer xerostomia as a side-effect of necessary medical drugs they are prescribed. These include many anticonvulsant, antidepressant, antipsychotic, anti-reflux, asthma, diuretic/hypertension, and immunosuppressant drugs.. There are literally hundreds of drugs, either prescribed medications or illicit drugs of abuse, that can cause xerostomia.
Some patients suffer xerostomia from diseases that affect the function and effectiveness of the salivary glands themselves. These diseases include Sjögren’s, Scleroderma, Systemic Lupus Erythematous, Hepatitis C Virus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Anorexia Nervosa, and Bulimia etc. Unfortunately, these are not temporary conditions.
Some patients suffer xerostomia because of the continual drinking of Cola, ‘sports’ and other soft drinks, some because of drinking too much coffee, and others because of smoking cigarettes and ‘recreational’ drugs.
So you are not alone! But what can you to do to protect yourself?
• Use your fluoridated toothpaste immediately after every time you have any carbohydrates;
• Increase the resistance of teeth by the daily use of Neutrafluor 5,000 Plus fluoride toothpaste;
• Brush your teeth after every meal,and use dental floss daily;
• Rinse with Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda) mouthwashes after eating/drinking. (A teaspoon of Baking Soda in a glass of water; leave in the bathroom, with a lid, change daily);
• Stimulate the FLOW of saliva by continually chewing sugar-free gum. This is really good!;
• Use GC’s ‘Tooth Mousse’ to supply extra Calcium & Phosphate ions to the enamel surfaces. You can purchase it - and an excellent chewing gum - here. Another good oral gel is ‘Denta-Med’ which when used at night coats the actual gum and mucosa inside the cheeks. This gel can be purchased here.
• Use alcohol/detergent free Biotene’s Oral Balance Gel or GC’s artificial saliva/mouth lubricants;
• Use fungal and bactericidal dental plaque control solutions like the alcohol-free, non-staining ‘Curasept’s’ Chlorhexidine gel, mouthwash or toothpaste.
Consult your dentist for further advice specific to your particular situation.