Dry Mouth

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dry-mouth-cartoon-282x300Many people experience degrees of dry mouth.  Dry mouth results when for some reason the salivary glands, located under your tongue and in your cheeks near your upper molars, do not produce enough saliva.  Not only is this uncomfortable for the patient but can have serious dental consequences.

Not producing enough saliva in the mouth can lead to a number of conditions such as infections, gum disease, and tooth decay.

Causes of dry mouth are varied.  A large percentage of medications can cause a lower than normal production of saliva.  Additionally many diseases can contribute to dry mouth.  Among them are: Sjögren’s  syndrome, anemia, HIV/Aids, hypertension, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis  and stroke, to name a few.  Certain medical treatments may result in dry mouth such as chemotherapy and radiation.  Finally, smoking and chewing tobacco can be a causative factor.

Treatment varies depending upon the cause.   If the cause is a medication, the patient should notify their physician who may change the specific medication or the dosage.  Other aides are the avoidance of sugar, regular hydration with water, and the  use of fluoride toothpastes and rinses along with products containing xylitol. Sucking on sugar-free candy and gum can offer relief.

 Most importantly, talk to your dentist about this if it is an issue.  There are many over the counter products that your dental team can recommend.