About 1 in 10 people suffer from dry mouth*, which can occur when the glands that produce saliva are not functioning properly. The number one cause of dry mouth – prescription and over the counter medications. The most common culprits are:
- heart and blood pressure medication
Other conditions causing dry mouth include: smoking, excessive caffeine or alcohol consumption, chemotherapy or radiation treatment, and various auto immune disorders like Sjögren’s Syndrome.
The effect? Tooth decay. Saliva helps to break down the bacteria that forms plaque and causes tooth decay. The result is increased plaque and up to a 3 times greater risk of cavities. Saliva also neutralizes acids that can weaken your enamel.
What to do? Certainly drinking more water, and drinking water more frequently is a good start, but may not be enough. Things to avoid: alcohol based mouthwash, caffeinated drinks, alcohol, and tobacco. Products to try: saliva stimulators, like sugar free gum, XyliMelts, Biotene rinse, Oral Balance gel, and cavity prevention products like Prevident 5000 for dry mouth and Gel Kam fluoride (RX only), or Act fluoride (over the counter).
As always, don’t hesitate to call with questions about this, or any blog posting, or for information on all things dental.
* Steven B. Horne, DDS (Feb 11, 2016), Retrieved from www.medicinenet.com/dry_mouth/article.htm
** Retrieved from www.biotene.com