There are many factors that can contribute to dry mouth including:
- Many prescription drugs
- Over-the-counter medications
- Mouth breathing
- Spicy or salty foods
- Dry, cold, or dirty air
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Radiation and chemotherapy
- Sjogren’s Syndrome
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Nerve damage to the head and neck
Medications that can cause dry mouth are used for:
- High blood pressure
- Anxiety, pain, and depression
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Psychiatric issues
- Cancer (chemotherapy)
- Urinary incontinence
It is important to address dry mouth because:
- Tooth decay can become extensive quickly
- Gums can become sore and the chance of mouth sores increases
- Periodontal disease (gum disease) is likely to get worse
- It can become difficult to wear dentures due to sore spots
- Yeast infections are more likely
- Bad breath (halitosis) is common
- Eating normal foods can be difficult and painful
- It can be difficult to taste normal food
- Talking can become challenging
- There is an increase in a burning sensation in the mouth and tongue
Caries (tooth decay) prevention for dry mouth:
- Limit food with sugars, especially those that stay in the mouth for extended periods such as cough drops, lemon drops, hard candy, breath mints, chewing gum, soda etc. Use sugar-free options, better yet, products made with xylitol.
- Use prescription fluoride products, which will deliver more fluoride to the tooth. They are available as a mouth rinse, brush-on gel, or a gel applied in a custom-made mouth tray.
- Optimum daily oral hygiene to include brushing at least twice a day for two minutes each time and cleaning in between.
- At least two times a year have an oral prophylaxis (cleaning).
- Annual dental exam with a dentist
Dry mouth symptoms can be relieved by:
- Drinking water frequently, even if only small sips.
- Adding moisture to the air with a humidifier.
- In cold weather keeping the mouth and nose covered with a scarf when outdoors.
- Decreasing or stopping the use of tobacco or alcohol.
- Only using alcohol-free rinses.
- Using sodium lauryl sulfate free toothpastes.
- Avoiding spicy and salty foods, and products containing cinnamon, peppermint, or wintergreen.
- Using oral products that contain xylitol, with xylitol as the first ingredient, such as candies, mints, gum, mouth rinses, sprays, and toothpastes. Many of these will stimulate saliva.
- Consulting with a Doctor or pharmacist regarding medications and asking if any can be changed to alternatives with fewer dry mouth side effects.
- Using a saliva substitute or mouth moisturizers such as Biotene gel and rinse.
Dry Mouth Products
Mouthkote dry mouth spray, available at Walgreens or online at Amazon
Allday Dry Mouth Spray – http://www.elevateoralcare.com/dentist/Allday, 44% xylitol
Aloe Sense toothpaste – Walgreens or www.aloesense.com, and Bed, Bath & Beyond
ACT Dry mouth rinse – contains xylitol, 0.02 % sodium fluoride, Contains three intensive polyol
moisturizers to relieve oral dryness, and two hydrating polymers to coat oral tissues and lock in moisture
Is alcohol-free, non-irritating, safe and great-tasting
ACT Dry Mouth Lozenges –
ACT dry mouth anti-cavity dry mouth toothpaste – SLS free, contains xylitol and sodium fluoride.
All of the ACT products available at Walmart, Target, Safeway, Walgreens, CVS, and Fred Meyer.
Salese lozenges – http://nuvorainc.com/
Spry moisturizing spray – Aloe vera to soothe sore dry gingiva and xylitol, spearmint flavor.
Neutrasal – supersaturated calcium phosphate rinse is one of the most powerful adjuncts in the care and treatment of the symptoms and severities of dry mouth associated with xerostomia. Need a prescription for this product. http://www.neutrasal.com/
SalivaMax – supersaturated calcium phosphate powder that when mixed with water creates a solution that is high in electrolytes similar to saliva. A prescription is neededhttp://www.forwardscience.com/salivamax
Spry dry mouth gel – Xlear, 35% xylitol – http://www.xlear.com/store/spry-dental-defense/original-oral-gel.html
Oracoat dry mouth gel – OraCoat – https://www.oracoat.com/products/xyligel-for-dry-mouth-and-tooth-decay, 17% xylitol
Therabreath toothpaste – Zinc Gluconate, CoQ10, Aloe Vera and Xylitol. Available at Walgreens, Target, and online.
Basic Bite Chews – calcium carbonate and arginine bicarbonate. Arginine increases Ph which makes the mouth less acidic and the calcium can then go into the tooth and remineralize the teeth. http://www.basicbites.com/index.html
Xylimelts – Available at Rite Aid, Amazon, Walgreens
Oasis Dry Mouth spray – Walgreens, Amazon