If you suffer from dry mouth (xerostomia), your oral surgeon needs to know. Aside from causing difficulties with tasting, chewing and swallowing, this condition can also increase your risk of tooth decay, infection and other oral health care problems.
Medications are to blame for most cases of dry mouth, but dosage or prescription changes aren’t possible for everyone. Some strategies, however, may relieve symptoms.
No. 1: Sip Fluids Throughout the Day
Frequently sipping fluids throughout the day can help keep your mouth moist. Water is your best bet, as it is free of sugars and acids that can lead to tooth decay. Or, if you prefer, let ice chips dissolve in your mouth for the same benefit.
If you need a break from water, choose a sugarless, non-acidic, caffeine-free beverage.
No. 2: Chew Sugarless Gum
Chewing gum can stimulate the salivary glands and relieve dry mouth. Sucking on candies and mints also helps. Make sure to stick to sugarless varieties, however, or you’ll trade your mouth dryness for cavities.
No. 3: Try Saliva Substitutes
Certain prescription and over-the-counter products can be helpful in boosting moisture. Saliva substitutes, including alcohol-free rinses, lozenges and oral sprays, can be used as often as needed for symptom relief.
No. 4: Breathe Through Your Nose
Mouth breathing can lead to reduced salivary flow due to the constant exposure to air. Try to breathe through your nose instead to slow down the dehydration. Your oral surgeon or physician can offer tips on how to achieve better nasal breathing.
No. 5: Avoid Products that Make Dry Mouth Worse
Caffeine, alcohol and tobacco can all cause dryness and irritation, so avoid using these products. Some over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants can also worsen dry mouth. If you routinely use these medications, talk to your doctor about alternate options.
No. 6: Be Diligent About Oral Hygiene
Maintaining good oral health care habits can help manage the complications of mouth dryness. Daily brushing and flossing are essential, as dry mouth makes you more susceptible to tooth decay and periodontal disease.
Your oral surgeon may also recommend additional measures, such as using a prescription fluoride toothpaste or brush-on fluoride gel.
No. 7: See Your Oral Surgeon Regularly
For patients with dry mouth, oral health problems can progress rapidly. For that reason, regular dental and oral surgeon visits are a must. Frequent examinations allow for monitoring of your oral health, and professional cleanings and in-office fluoride applications can help keep your mouth healthy.
The professional team at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah can offer more advice on managing your dry mouth symptoms. Contact our Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan or Tooele office to schedule a consultation today.