Dry Mouth (xerostomin)

Dry mouth, or xerostomin is the result of decreased saliva production, which affects up to 60% of older adults. Saliva lubricates the mouth helping to prevent decay and protect tooth enamel. But don’t worry; there are plenty of ways to manage this condition.

Dry mouth can be caused by a variety of reasons, including medications you may be taking, radiation or cancer treatments, smoking, immune deficiency, systemic diseases (such as Diabetes, Parkinson’s, Sjogren syndrome) or salivary gland aplasia.

Signs & Symptoms:

  • Red, cracked or swollen gums
  • Dry, cracked tongue
  • Cracked corners of the mouth
  • Lips that stick to the teeth
  • Gums that easily bleed
  • Bad breath
  • Problems wearing dentures
  • Difficulty eating, swallowing or talking

Management:

  • Maintain good oral hygiene with fluoridated tooth paste, and regular flossing (or alternative cleaning aids)
  • Sip water or suck on ice cubes throughout the day
  • Use water based lip lubricant
  • Chew sugar free gum or suck sugar free candy
  • Use saliva substitutes
  • Use a mist humidifier at night
  • Consult with a physician about reducing or changing troublesome medications
  • Regular check-ups with a dental professional

dry-mouth-healthy-teeth-plus Also, avoid alcohol or alcohol products (including mouth rinses containing alcohol), glycerin or lemon toothette swabs, food or drinks promoting dry mouth (caffeine, sweet sticky foods, spicy, acidic or dry foods) and lemon or cinnamon flavoured candy or gum.

Content supplied by the Brushing Up on Mouth Care program