Xerostomia, more commonly called “Dry Mouth”, is a condition that develops when a person’s salivary glands stop producing enough saliva. This can happen for number of reasons, possibilities include: side effects from medications; age; autoimmune diseases; and trauma to salivary glands. The condition can be very uncomfortable, often causes one to wake during the night to drink water, and can often lead to dental decay, especially root decay which can be devastating. If you are suffering from dry mouth, see your dentist for an examination and possible help with selecting any of the over-the-counter products suggested here.
Helpful Hints for Dry Mouth
- Sip water, sugarless drinks, or suck on ice chips
- Chew sugar free gum or suck on sugar free candy, especially Xylitol products
- Avoid salty or spicy foods
- Use a humidifier at night
- Use sugar-free salivary stimulants
- Ask your dentist about periodic professional fluoride application
Over-The-Counter Products to Help Dry Mouth
Gums, Mints and Tablets
The regular use of sugarless gums, mints and candies, which dissolve slowly, can help stimulate salivary flow. Avoid products that contain sugar, as sugar increases the risk of cavities; instead, look for products that contain Xylitol.
Xylitol is a natural sweetener that actually inhibits the growth of bacteria and prevents the acid production know to cause tooth decay. Xylitol is approved as therapeutic by the FDA.
- Spry gum and Mints (www.xlear.com). Contains xylitol, but the Spry Mouthwash is NOT recommended, because it contains alcohol, which is a drying agent.
- Zapp Gum and Mints (www.zappgum.com). Contains xylitol
- Oramoist Dry Mouth Disk(www.quantumhealth.com). Adheres to roof of the mouth and provides relief for up to 4 hours.
- XyliMelts, by Orahealth (www.orahealth.com) Adheres to mouth, contains xylitol and lasts several hours
- Biotene Dry Mouth Gum (www.biotene.com)
Sprays, Gels, and Rinses