When there is an inadequate flow of saliva in your mouth, the mouth feels dry and irritated. Dry mouth can make it difficult to speak, swallow, taste, chew, or wear dentures. Tooth decay and bad breath, loose dentures if present, and gum disease are also encouraged when there is inadequate saliva present. There are many situations that stimulate dry mouth; taking many different medications is the most common cause of dry mouth. Additionally, menopause, and various systemic diseases are causative.
Many brands of artificial saliva are available in pharmacies. Consult with us for a recommended brand. These solutions contain most of the constituents of real salive. However, they do not last for more than several minutes. Many dry-mouth patients carry a small pocket/purse-sized container of artificial saliva to be used frequently throughout the day. Whenever possible, sipping water is useful as a preventive action. Medications are available to increase saliva flow, but unfortunately, they increase all bodily fluid secretion and have some side effects. Ask us about these medications.
Additionally, while dry mouth is controllable with the above courses of treatment, they only work during daytime hours. The most damage to teeth and gums from dry mouth occurs during sleep when saliva production is lowest. A custom-made upper and lower appliance tray, fabricated to fit comfortably and maintain protectant gel, can protect your teeth during sleep and and prevent periodontal damage. We can discuss this option with you at your next appointment.