What's the deal with xerostomia?

 

What is dry mouth?

Dry mouth, or xerostomia, affects many people for many reasons. Saliva is important because it helps us chew, speak, and swallow. It also helps to flush bacteria away from the teeth and without an adequate amount of saliva the risk for dental decay increases.  

There are many reasons a person can have dry mouth. Certain medications, how you breathe at night, systemic diseases (such as diabetes), cancer treatments, salivary tumors, or salivary stones can decrease salivation. Speaking with a dental professional and maybe even collaborating with your physician to find the reason for the xerostomia should be top priority. Once you understand the reason for your dry mouth, there are different ways to tackle the problem, or at least help to manage it. Disrupting the biofilm or bacteria is even more important when your mouth is not in a state of health.  

If the dryness in your mouth is painful, you can try TePe’s gentle care line. This includes extra-soft bristled toothbrushes and a line of extra-soft interdental brushes. Don’t let dry mouth cause additional dental problems. Keep your mouth clean with TePe products!

 

Products to help

Many products exist to help alleviate dry mouth or even create an increase in saliva to help moisten the mouth properly.Your dental professional or physician may recommend the use of xylitol. This natural sugar helps combat tooth decay. Xylitol can be incorporated into a mint or chewing gum (which stimulates salivation).The mint triggers salivation and the xylitol will be washed onto your teeth helping to fight decay. So you are battling two problems at once.

A doctor may adjust your prescriptions if the xerostomia was induced from your medications. Making sure you are using toothpaste either created for dry mouth patients, or one with the fewest amount of chemicals, are best. Sometimes additional chemicals in toothpaste can actually trigger dry mouth issues; not something we want if we are already battling this problem. Your dental professional may recommended a sleep study to see if mouth breathing is a possible cause for your dry mouth symptoms. If you are a mouth breather or your tongue is in the way while you sleep, it can create dry mouth at night, but typically not throughout the day. 

Brushing and removing the plaque biofilm is extremely important if you suffer from dry mouth. Some great long lasting products specialized for patients with dry mouth are available like Xylimelts or Spry.These products can be used along with TePe’s gentle care line of toothbrushes and interdental brushes to create the optimal solution for your xerostomia. If your mouth is improving and the xerostomia is not creating a painful brushing experience, we recommend you continue to use a regular soft bristled brush like the Supreme toothbrush. This will help disrupt the most plaque biofilm. 

As always, let me know if there is any way TePe can help you, your patient, or your practice!


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