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“Xerostomia”- Pronouncing the “x” as a “Z”

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We take it so for granted…until we don’t have it. Saliva in your mouth moistens the tissues, helps clear food debris from teeth, and actually begins digesting certain foods. Yet, the side effect of more than 400 drugs is xerostomia, also known as “dry mouth”. Ask your doctor if she/he can prescribe a different drug. Eighteen different medical conditions or infections have xerostomia listed as their side effect. And anyone going through chemotherapy will tell you about the sensation of a dry mouth, and they usually aren’t smiling about it!

Frequent or chronic xerostomia raises your chances of gingivitis, tooth decay, and thrush, a specific mouth infection. Dry mouth also makes it hard for someone to wear dentures.

To counteract the xerostomia, it is wise to drink lots of water and brush your teeth with toothpaste containing fluoride, or a fluoride rinse, frequently. There are over-the-counter artificial saliva products or a prescription product that creates more salivary flow. Other suggestions include the avoidance of breathing through your mouth, using a vaporizer while sleeping, and sucking on sugar-free candy or chewing sugarless gum.

I have seen patients with large cavities, despite annual check-ups, when they tell me that they have to drink soda all day to combat their dry mouth condition. Please don’t go there.

Contact Winterset Dental to schedule your appointment.