Xerostomia, which is commonly known as “dry mouth”, affects many people. As a Kitchener Dentist, I see patients every day who suffer from a low saliva flow. Their mouths tend to be very dry and this results in lower clearance of food and plaque from around teeth and gums. This can cause gum inflammation, gum disease or Periodontitis, and accelerated tooth decay.
Kitchener Dentist Files: What causes dry mouth?
Saliva flow and production generally decreases with age. This effect varies from person to person. There are also rare systemic and autoimmune conditions that diminish saliva flow. However, the most common cause of dry mouth is regular consumption of medications as we age. For example, people taking blood pressure medications will commonly notice having a drier mouth. People taking anti-depressant medications may also notice having a dry mouth as a result.
The most common group I see experiencing dry mouth encompasses individuals over 60 years of age who consume multiple medications for chronic health conditions.
So, how can you minimize the destructive effects of dry mouth?
Kitchener Dentist Files: Offsetting dry mouth effects with saliva substitutes.
Saliva substitutes can help to lubricate the oral cavity and increase its self-cleansability. Products like Biotene are available “over-the-counter” at your local pharmacy and can help to increase clearance of plaque and food debris from the oral cavity. Another product, GC Dry Mouth Gel, is very effective for patients with dry mouth. Ask your Kitchener Dentist about ordering this product for you.
Kitchener Dentist Files: Offsetting dry mouth effects with increased fluoride
If you ask your Kitchener Dentist, they will tell you that Fluoride makes your tooth enamel more resistant to acids in the mouth that cause tooth decay. The easiest way to safely increase fluoride exposure for your enamel is by using a high fluoride toothpaste. A product like Colgate Prevadent can drive more fluoride into your tooth enamel so that it can better withstand acid attack in the mouth. Ask your Kitchener Dentist what high fluoride toothpastes they recommend.
Don’t let dry mouth have a negative effect on your teeth and gums. There are products you can utilize to increase the moisture level in your mouth. This will increase clearance of plaque and food debris limiting tooth decay. Increasing exposure of your tooth enamel to fluoride can make your teeth strong and more resistant to cavities. Ask your Kitchener Dentist how to best offset the effects of dry mouth so you can avoid long-term problems with your oral health.
Thanks for reading!
By Dr. Kyle Hornby, Kitchener Dentist
Our Kitchener Dental Clinic is conveniently located in Downtown Kitchener and we are a short drive away for families in Kitchener, Waterloo, Breslau & Stratford.
This article is meant to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Accordingly, always seek the advice of your Kitchener Dentist or other healthcare provider regarding a dental condition or treatment.