Dry mouth is a common occurrence for hundreds of thousands of people across the world. Unfortunately too often I will have patients that have no idea dry mouth has so many potential dangers. Dry mouth also is known medically as Xerostomia is not only harmful to the oral tissues but can be painful and cause a variety of sores and ulcers.
To start off, dry mouth is when the salivary glands do not produce sufficient saliva to keep the mouth properly moisturized. Similar to your skin, eyes, and nose proper moisturizing is essential to feeling great and preventing irritations.
Dry mouth can occur in different instances; for example, some people experience dry mouth constantly, some only in the morning, and some only at night. Often people will experience dry mouth after eating meals or taking certain medications. In fact, medications are the number one cause of dry mouth due to side effects. Unfortunately countless medications such as those for anxiety, depression, pain, hypertension, and many many more cause a person to have dry mouth.
One might ask how to know if they have xerostomia. Fortunately, determining if you have dry mouth is fairly simple. Some signs and symptoms are a feeling of a dry and sticky tongue, frequent and excessive thirst, possible sores and burning or tingling sensations, a dry, red or raw tongue, and possible splits at the corners of the mouth. Some people may notice some swelling, irritation, and the inability to feel their thirst quenched. I often notice my patients have very red inflamed and bleeding gums in addition to burning and tingling sensations. Some people also find it difficult or painful to talk, especially for long periods of time.
Dry mouth is damaging to oral tissues in various ways. To start, saliva works in the oral cavity as a buffer to foods that are consumed. The saliva helps to bring the oral cavity back to a neutral pH after eating so teeth are not damaged. If the mouth lacks the ability to neutralize pH the acids can cause cavities. Saliva also gives the ability to taste foods and is the first step in the digestion process by breaking down starches. Saliva also gives the ability to swallow. Without proper salivary content, the teeth are at high risk for cavities, as I said previously. When the teeth are not properly neutralized after food consumption, breakdown occurs and the tooth structure becomes damaged.
Thankfully there are numerous options to help decrease the pain of dry mouth and increase your comfort. There are numerous dry mouth rinses, sprays, lozenges, and gels. I have provided several products that I have personally found work the best. Patients certainly have their favorite products and often let me know what works best for them.
The first product I recommend using some sort of dry mouth rinse. Dry mouth rinses can help you to produce more saliva but act as a substitute and buffer for pH needs.
Most rinses can be used numerous times a day and relieve sensitivity and burning sensations.
To make it easier, all of the dry mouth products listed below are linked and can be ordered by clicking the image. I would say ‘biotene’ is the most popular of all the dry mouth rinses.
The use of rinses are my number one recommendation. Mouth rinse is a fairly inexpensive product and can be used numerous times a day. Although most rinses do not taste great, many people have had great relief. My personal recommendation is to use a rinse as often as needed up to five times a day.
In addition to a rinse, There are a few dry mouth sprays. If you are busy throughout the day moisturizing sprays would be great for you.
Fortunately, with the spray, there is no need to ‘rinse and spit’ like traditional rinses. The spry relieves burning sensations and reduces the possibility of ulcers or other lacerations.
Sprays do not leave a ‘film’ in the mouth and make the breath smell better.
The third product I recommend using is a dry mouth gel. Gels are recommended as a complete salivary substitute.
If your dry mouth is to the point where you cannot produce your own saliva, I recommend the gels in addition to the rinse. Depending on your personal preference, many people appreciate the gels because of the ability to relieve severe symptoms of dry mouth.
Many types and brands of gels including favored verses unflavored are available.
The final product I recommend using are dry mouth ‘candies’ or lozenges.
These candies are the best option for those who can produce their own saliva, and need help after meals or throughout the night.
For the lozenges, you can place them in the cheek prior to sleeping, and they create a ‘long release’ of dry mouth help.
These candies increase saliva production naturally. They are a great quick relief when needed.
Hopefully, this information and all of these recommendations can help! As always, If you have any questions, or concerns don’t be afraid to post a comment or send an email! I am always happy to answer your burning dental questions. Have a great day, and don’t forget to smile today!