Dry mouth treatment
Treating the cause(s) of the oral dryness
Since Dry Mouth is caused by many things, it should not be surprising that there are different ways to treat it. If your physician or dentist can determine the cause of your oral dryness, he/she may be able to provide you with a specific cure. The trouble is, this is easier said than done.
If the dryness is due to drugs, it may be possible for your doctor to advise you to stop taking those drugs, reduce their intake or switch to another “less drying” medication. The drymouth.info drug search engine can be quite useful in this effort. Sometimes, especially, in life threatening diseases, it may not be possible to change a patient’s drug intake pattern. If the dryness is due to a specific disease, e.g. diabetes, proper treatment of the disease will decrease the intensity of your oral symptoms. Occasionally, we do not know the causes of the diseases which produce dry mouth. This, for example, is the case with Sjögren’s Syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions. In such cases, we try to relieve the symptoms of the disease rather than treat the disease itself.
How to Treat Dry Mouth and its Associated Symptoms
To Keep Your Mouth Moist
Sip water or other sugar-free juices frequently. It is particularly important to drink often while eating. This will aid chewing and swallowing and may enhance the taste of your food. You can carry a water bottle, like bicycle riders do, during the day and keep a glass of water at your bedside at night. Also, use a humidifier to increase the moisture content of the air in your room.
Stimulate the flow of your saliva
By eating foods which require mastication
By chewing sugarless gum
By using, if possible, acid-tasting, sugarless (diabetic-type) candies..
By “sucking” a cherry or olive pit; or the rind of a lemon or lime.
To Protect the
Hard and Soft Tissues of your Mouth
Ask your dentist to teach you how to properly brush your teeth, and brush them after every meal.
Use dental floss daily.
Ask your dentist to teach you how to scrape or brush the surface of your tongue, and do this every day.
Use a fluoride toothpaste daily. In some cases, your dentist may prescribe the fabrication of a “mouth-guard”, like athletes wear. A fluoride gel is placed in these trays and they are worn for several minutes every night.
Decrease your intake of sugars and your snack frequency. Also, watch your intake of carbohydrates, like bread and pasta and cookies, etc. which tend to hang around in the mouth.
Avoid or decrease your intake of spicy, salty or very acidic foods.
Do not smoke
Avoid or decrease your intake of alcohol
Avoid or decrease your intake of caffeine-containing drinks and foods.
Chew your food slowly and thoroughly, and sip water with it before swallowing.
Salivary Substitutes (Artificial Saliva) or a mouth-gel can be used to lubricate your tissues. They sometimes make you feel less dry.
See your dentist at least 3 times a year and have him/her routinely check you for evidence of early decay.
The Use of Drugs to Increase the Flow of Saliva
Recent studies have shown that drugs called Pilocarpine (Salagen™) and Cevimeline ( Evoxac™) can decrease your sensation of oral dryness. These drugs are generally taken 3 - 4 times a day, after meals, and their effects usually last from 2 - 4 hours. The side-effects of these medications are generally modest. These drugs, combined with other methods to stimulate the flow of saliva have made it possible for many people to find relief from their scorched-mouth feeling.
The following table lists the names of several commercially available Salivary Stimulants, Oral Moisturizers and Salivary Substitutes.