Dr. Julie Pruneski
We’ve all been in a situation where we are out of our comfort zone, perhaps giving an important speech, and suddenly it feels as if your cheeks are lined with cotton. Constantly sipping on water can help alleviate this temporary dryness, but for some people dry mouth symptoms never go away.
Most frequently, dry mouth is a side effect of medication that is being taken. The FDA states that dry mouth is a side effect associated with at least 400 medications. Taking multiple medications- no matter what the side effect list states- almost always causes some dryness. Patients with Sjogren’s syndrome also suffer from dry mouth. An early diagnosis by a physician is the key to lessen the symptoms associated with Sjogren’s syndrome, so make sure to mention your dry mouth when you see your doctor.
Patients with dry mouth have to take extra measures to prevent cavities from occurring. Without saliva to wash away food products and bacteria that cause tooth decay, these patients really need to be extra attentive to their oral hygiene routine.
Some tips to help those who suffer with dry mouth include:
- avoid alcohol and caffeine which can perpetuate dryness
- use a high fluoride toothpaste or fluoride gel in custom fitted trays
- stay away from sugar-containing drinks, mints, and gum
- use mouth rinses, gels, pastes, or lozenges designed for dry mouth
- see your physician to discuss your medications that could be causing dryness
- maintain regular dental cleanings and exams to take care of any problems that are starting