Guidelines to Manage Dry Mouth

Saliva has many special properties. It keeps the mouth wet, helps digest food, protects teeth from decay, prevents infections in the mouth, and makes it possible for you to chew and swallow. Almost everybody has experienced transient dry mouth, especially during times of stress, or when you are are nervous. Dry mouth (also known as zerostomia) all of the time is very uncomfortable, tend lead to serious dental problems and can indicate an underlying medical problem. Xerostomia is often as a result of chemotherapy, radiotherapy to the head and neck area or taking prescription medications.

At DentArtisans we examine all our patients for the signs of dry mouth. We can also conduct special saliva testing to understand if your saliva places you at risk of further dental and health problems. This test will enable us to examine the quality and quantity of saliva in your mouth.

Below are some guidelines which can assist with relieving the symptoms of dry mouth.

Tooth brushing
Thorough tooth brushing and flossing is important to limit bacteria in the mouth. If you wear acrylic dentures, retainers or anything removable in your mouth you need to clean it with a brush, soap and water. Dentures should be left out in a cup of water when you go to bed. Acrylic oral devices have microscopic holes which harbour bacteria.

Most toothpastes contain the foaming agent known as "sodium lauryl sulphate". You need to avoid these toothpastes as they can cause irritation with dry mouth. Try "Biotene Dry Mouth Toothpaste" which has natural salivary enzymes or "Rembrandt Natural".

Warm sodium bicarbonate mouthwash can improve oral discomfort. If you would like to use a mouthwash NEVER use a mouthwash containing alcohol (e.g Listerine). Instead use a water-based mouthwash such as "Biotene Mouthwash" or "Curasept Mouthwash" 

Mouth gels
Most patients find the "Oral Balance Moisturising Gel" made by Biotene or "Dry Mouth Gel" made by GC to be the most effective in minimising irritation created by dry mouth. If you wear a denture, try placing the gel inside your denture and then place it into your mouth.

Helpful Tips:

  • Sip water frequently- you need to aim towards drinking 2 litres of water/day.

  • Carry a water spray bottle to wet your mouth continually

  • Sugar-free chewing gum will stimulate salivary flow. Chewing gum such as Recaldent (available from dentists only) also have added benefits to assist with re-mineralising tooth surfaces

  • Eat sugar-free lollies as an alternative to sugar containing lollies

  • Suck on ice blocks

  • Keep a glass of water by your bed at night

  • Drink during meal times

  • Use bland non spicy sauces

  • Limit your caffeine (e.g. coffee, cola and tea)

  • Maintain a balanced and nutritional diet- ensuring adequate levels of iron and vitamins A and B.

If you have symptoms of constant dry mouth, you can make an appoinment for an analysis at Dentartisans. Ph: 9518 7832 or email: smile@dentartisans.com.au