What Causes Dry Mouth?

What Causes Dry Mouth?

Posted on: Monday, September 7th, 2015 by Aliso Park
What causes dry mouth? What role does saliva play? And how do I correct it?

If you have landed on this page, you have more than likely been researching “dry mouth” and have questions about the detrimental effects on your oral health. Perhaps a dentist has recently diagnosed you as having gum disease, or diagnosed more dental work than you ever needed in previous years. Dry mouth, medically known as Xerostomia, is caused by a number of factors, and curing the problem has many solutions. It’s important to know that the saliva production in your mouth is very important, and restoring a healthy balance of saliva can optimize your oral health.

There are many factors that can cause dry mouth, but the most prevalent by far are prescription medications. Unfortunately, it is a very common side effect of many of today’s over-the-counter and prescription medications.(We have provided a link below of a list of some of these medications). Some other common causes are smoking, chewing tobacco, sleep apnea, diseases such as Sjogren’s Syndrome, auto immune diseases such as lupus, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and nerve damage.

The key is to restore the alkaline/ pH balance that is produced by a healthy amount of saliva in the mouth to normal (usually 7.0 or higher). When your pH level drops to 6.5 or below, the teeth will begin to erode and discolor, causing not only an increase in decay, but possible tooth loss and gum disease. The saliva in your mouth is very important, not only does it help you to digest your food, but it also acts as a natural cleanser. The more saliva present, the less cavities one usually has. So, what you want is as much saliva as possible in order to maintain this balance.

Here are a few things you can do:

  • Visit your MD and discuss the side effect of dry mouth as it relates to your medications. He or she may be able to help you by either reducing the dosage, or switching the medication.
  • If you smoke or chew tobacco – look into methods of cessation, and try your best to stop or curtail your smoking/chewing habits.
  • Buy sugar free lozenges – our favorite recommendation to patients are sugar free lemon drops ☺ They are tasty, and they produce an abundance of saliva in the mouth.
  • Use an alcohol free dry mouth mouthwash such as Biotene, or Xylitol spray. Tom’s has a natural spray called “Tom’s Natural Anti-cavity Fluoride Mouthwash for Dry Mouth.”
  • If you prefer, you can try Xylitol gum, mints, or chews.
  • Above all, in order to prevent extreme damage to your teeth and gums, we recommend that you visit your general dentist more frequently (three times per year instead of twice) so that he or she can treat any dental problem before it is too late.
List of Medications that cause dry mouth/Xerostomia: http://wsdha.com/clientuploads/pdfs/Public%20Info/Seniors/DryMouthMedications.pdf

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