The scientific name for dry mouth is “xerostomia” as in zero. In this case- zero- or no- saliva.
Dry mouth is one of the hidden causes of gum disease and can be found in 3 out of 10 adults. As we age, adults can take a lot of medications; many medications can have a side affect of causing dry mouth. Certain medical conditions, such as Sjogren’s Syndrome can have dry mouth as one of the symptoms. Radiation helps to cure cancer but can cause damage to a person’s salivary glands which results in dry mouth.
Dry mouth is very uncomfortable for the patient and often results in tooth decay. We need saliva; it acts as a natural cleanser for the teeth. Without saliva the plaque in our mouth becomes thicker and more difficult to keep removed.
So what should we do when dry mouth happens? The first line of defense is to increase the intake of water. Carry a bottle of water at all times and keep a glass of water at the bedside. Biotene is a good line of over the counter products for dry mouth: they have a mouth wash and moisturizer for the mouth that you may find useful. Chewing sugarfree gum- the best have xylitol- can help also.
It is important to stay away from mints and hard candies with sugar in an attempt to stimulate saliva production. This will only cause more cavities.
Using an over the counter mouthwash with fluoride – like ACT or other brand- will help
to fight tooth decay. Get regular check ups with yearly xrays to detect any cavities as
early as possible. Your dentist or hygienist may suggest a prescription fluoride toothpaste which has a higher amount of fluoride if they start to see more decay.
If you have an elderly loved on in your family, question them about dry mouth, possibly you can help them with these suggestions and keep cavities from happening.
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