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Dr. Laura Matin, DDS
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Posted on 6/1/2018 by Dr. Laura Matin
GettyImages 472178756 width of 200 pixelsXerostomia or dry mouth is associated with a change in the composition of your saliva and a reduction in the salivary flow. Some reasons that can cause xerostomia is medication. Certain drugs can cause reduced salivary flow. Some of the medication that can cause the mouth to feel dry: antidepressants, antihypertensive (used to lower your blood pressure), opiates, some asthma medications, antihistamines and diuretics. The aging population has an increase in xerostomia as they tend to take several medications.

Certain diseases can affect the salivary flow- such as Sjogren’s syndrome, scleroderma,etc.

One of the main problems associated with xerostomia is dental caries (cavities). Saliva helps to reduce the incidence of decay. Saliva acts as a buffer to prevent the demineralization of the teeth. Also, the loss of antimicrobial actions of saliva may lead to the overgrowth of yeast (candidiasis) in the mouth. Patients also may have difficulty in swallowing and food may stick to the tissues.

What can you do to prevent the oral effects related to dry mouth?

•  Talk to your physician about the medications you are taking
•  Have your dentist prescribe prescription fluoride toothpaste (a higher concentration than over the counter)
•  If decay continues to be a problem, your dentist can make custom mouth trays to hold a strong fluoride gel
•  Use of Biotene or similar products to wet your mouth. They come in gels, pasts and sprays.
•  Sucking on sugar free lozenges
•  Chewing xylitol gum
•  Drinking lots of water throughout the day
•  Make sure you are seeing your dentist at least every 6 months possibly and exam every 3 months if your dentist feels this would be best
•  Watch acidic foods like lemons, oranges, etc and keep to a minimum
•  Don’t forget to brush twice a day with a prescription fluoride past and floss!
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