Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)
Xerostomia (zero-stom-e-a), or dry mouth, is a condition that affects not only our senior population but those who have also undergone head and neck radiation or are on a number of medications. Other systemic diseases such as Sjogrens syndrome manifest as xerostomia. Medications side effects are the number one reason a patient will have xerostomia and can range from annoying to extremely painful. There are many prescription medications that can cause xerostomia among them antianxieties, antidepressents, antihistamines, antipsychotics, and narcotics. There are many others so be sure to discuss all your medications with Dr. Torrey or his Team. There may be other medications that your medical doctor may prescribe that will have fewer oral side effects.
It is important to have very good home care and be on a prescription fluoride toothpaste for daily use and a fluoride varnish applied in the dental office as well if you suffer from xerostomia. Often with xerostomia patients have root decay which is particularly aggressive and difficult to manage. We will often make fluoride trays for patients with chronic or early root decay. Prevention is very key in managing this type of decay.
Avoidance of mouthwashes that contain alcohol is also important with xerostomia. Night rinses just before bed time are good for protecting the oral tissue from breakdown. Biotene and Oasis are good rinses and patients have temporary relief with these. They form a temporary protective enzyme shield over the tissue.