Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia is not a disease. This medical disorder is simply the decrease flow of saliva in the mouth. Saliva is 98% water plus needed enzymes, electrolytes and agents to fight germs. Causes of xerostomia include: radiation during head and neck cancer therapy, diseases such as Sjogren’s syndrome, scleroderma, lupus and diabetes and the number one cause medications. Without saliva to help fight oral bacteria there can be extensive tooth decay. You need to maximize salivary flow, keeping your mouth wet to increase comfort and prevent tooth decay.
Q: How can I treat and prevent my dry mouth condition?
A: Dry mouth is common. Listed are five important ways treat xerostomia:
- Sugar-free gum and candies to stimulate saliva, no sugar products because they lead to tooth decay.
- Lifestyle changes limit alcohol and caffeine consumption, eliminate tobacco use. But you can drink more water.
- Don’t use alcohol base mouthwashes, alcohol in mouthwashes kills bacteria but dries out the mouth.
- Stop, change or limit dosage when possible medicines that have the side effect of dry mouth. These include antihistamines, decongestants, and diuretics.
- Use over the counter sprays, gels, rinses and saliva substitute products to lubricate and moisturize.
Now there is a prescription-only saliva substitute available from dentists,
3M Xerostomia Relief Spray. Available in a spray vial, no rinsing, lasts up to 4 hours. Can be applied at any time of the day, no matter where you are.
One dose equals two sprays. Use 3-4 times daily as needed to relieve the symptoms of dry mouth. The relief spray lubricates the tissues of the mouth, tongue and throat using a new lipid-based formulation for rapid, long-lasting effect.
See your dentist and ask for an evaluation of your dry mouth, address the cause and discuss treatment alternatives.
Get your 3M Xerostomia Relief Spray prescription filled through a direct-to-patient pharmacy. Ask your dental office for help in processing your prescription and refills.
Dry mouth is not completely preventable or treatable. When present the best long-term treatment is to address the cause not to only use products that help relieve the symptoms.
As needed utilize the new modern dental products for maximum comfort and limit dental decay.