What should I do about dry mouth (also known as xerostomia)?
Dry mouth is not only uncomfortable, but can also lead to severe decay very quickly. There are a number of ways to alleviate dry mouth symptoms and a few things to absolutely avoid while experiencing dry mouth.
Alleviation of symptoms:
- Keep a water bottle with you and sip water.
- Use Biotene Dry Mouth rinse.
- Use lozenges such as Salese (http://salesedrymouth.com/) or other similar products made with xylitol (xylitol is a sugar that kills cavity-causing bacteria) to stimulate saliva flow.
- Discuss your medications with your doctor and consider substituting one or more medications that cause dry mouth with a different brand or formulation. Everyone experiences different side effects from different medications. Even if all the available medications for a given condition list dry mouth as a side effect, you may find that one medication causes severe dry mouth and another does not.
- Consider a prescription medication such as Pilocarpine HCl or Cevimeline HCl. These medications are categorized as sialagogues and stimulate the salivary glands. If you have cardiovascular disease, discuss this option with your cardiologist, as these medications can affect cardiovascular function.
- Supplemental fluoride does not help the symptoms of dry mouth, but it will help prevent decay, which can happen rapidly in dry mouth conditions (See FAQ “Why is dry mouth so destructive”).
Things to avoid:
- Do NOT expose your teeth to sugar (avoid soda, lemonade, tea with sugar, candy, gum, mints, or anything else with natural sugar). Research has shown that most synthetic sugars do not significantly increase tooth decay, but xylitol is by far the best sweetener in the case of dry mouth.
- Use a mouthwash that does not contain alcohol. Alcohol has an additional drying effect on oral tissues and can make your mouth feel even more dry.
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