The following information is to help you understand the causes and results of dry mouth, as well as provides a protocol to reduce dry mouth symptoms and prevent tooth decay.
Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, is the reduction of normal saliva. Common causes of dry mouth include aging, side effects of medications, auto immune issues, chemotherapy and radiation therapies, and smoking.
Saliva is the mouth’s primary defense against tooth decay and gum disease and maintains the health of the soft and hard tissues in the mouth. Saliva washes away food and other debris, neutralizes acids produced by bacteria in the mouth and provides disease-fighting substances throughout the mouth, offering first-line protection against microbial invasion or overgrowth that might lead to tooth decay.
Dry mouth Protocol
Meticulous oral hygiene is needed with dry mouth. It is recommended that you brush and floss after every meal. Ideally, an electric toothbrush (Sonicare) and a water flossing system (WaterPik) are used, as they are much more effective than conventional brushing and flossing. It is imperative that you complete your full oral hygiene routine between your last meal and bedtime each night.
Diet and Eating Habits
Avoid frequent snacking, high sugar or acidic foods, and soda or other acidic liquids. Instead try to eat regular meals and perform hygiene immediately following. Drink primarily water or non-sugary liquids.
Toothpaste which is specifically designed to remineralize enamel is essential to preventing tooth decay with dry mouth. These include pastes that are high in Fluoride content (Prevident, Fluorodex), or if a non-fluoride solution is desired Calcium and Phosphate containing pastes (MI Paste) are available.
StellaLife VEGA Oral Rinse is a natural solution designed to promote manage bacteria, promote the health of gum tissue, and maintain hydration of the mouth. It should be used three times each day, and especially at the end of your evening hygiene routine.
Xylitol Lozenges or Gum
Xylitol stimulates saliva and helps prevent decay. These should be used as frequently has needed, not to exceed manufactures recommendation.
More severe cases of dry mouth may require daily use of custom trays containing a remineralization gel. If needed, we can fabricate trays for you and recommend a gel.
Periodontal Disease Prevention Trays
More severe cases also require gel and trays designed to manage gum disease. PerioProtect is a tray/gel system which is highly effective at controlling the bacteria which cause gum disease. The trays with gel are to be worn for a few minutes each day and will aid in preventing chronic gum disease exacerbated by dry mouth. If needed, we will have trays fabricated for you.
Ideal management of the effects of dry mouth require diligence with your dry mouth regimen. The goal is to protect your teeth, gums, and health as well as we can for as long as we can, and forming good habits is the best way to do that. If you have any questions or concerns with the aforementioned recommendations, please contact our office and we will be happy to help.