Xerostomia is the professional term for the condition commonly known as “dry mouth.” It occurs when the flow of saliva is interrupted for one of several possible reasons.
Dry mouth is often a side effect of a prescription drug. Common offenders may include medications used to control high blood pressure, crohn’s disease and certain psychiatric illnesses.
Xerostomia is sometimes an unavoidable circumstance of the aging process. As we grow older our salivary glands tend to slack off in production. Even though this may be a natural turn of events we don’t have to encourage it.
Letting yourself become dehydrated is opening the door for xerostomia. Drinking plenty of water will help the body produce more saliva. People who live in areas of higher elevation such as Colorado are especially susceptible to dehydration and should be aware of the danger.
Sinus problems are also associated with life in high and dry locals like ours. A dry climate can encourage a sinus infection and be very hard on those who suffer from chronic allergies. Having to breath through your mouth instead of your nose will contribute to dry mouth.
What can you do to relieve some of the symptoms of dry mouth? Anything that increases the amount of saliva in your mouth will be of help. Chewing sugarless gum can be beneficial as will sipping on a bottle of water throughout your day. There are several over the counter products that can act to moisturize your mouth. A room humidifier will infuse the air and allow you to breathe easier through the night and rinsing with an alcohol free fluoride mouthwash is often a recommendation.
Some of the lifestyle choices that we make can have an effect on our susceptibility. Alcohol and caffeine are both contributors to dry mouth – double ditto for tobacco!
If your dentist suspects that a new medication may be causing your dry mouth she can confer with your doctor to see if the prescription can be changed. Kendra L Patterson, DMD is experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of dry mouth. Call 303-722-9504 for answers to your questions or to arrange a consultation.