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Dry Mouth

In dry mouth little or no saliva is present to help break down food. It can cause food to taste bland and therefore people will often add more salt or sugar which can increase disease risk for diabetes and hypertension. Dry mouth can also create an environment that bacteria thrive in. Bacteria in the mouth can cause cavities, gum disease, and bad breath. There are treatment options for dry mouth and ways to prevent it.

Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, can be caused by certain medications. Common medications that cause this are: anticholinergics (ie: dicyclomine, Atrovent®), antihistamines (ie: diphenhydramine, Claritin®), and tricyclics (amitriptyline, nortriptyline). {We have a complete list of medications in a past April, 14 2009 article here} Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you have dry mouth and you are taking one of these medications.

Discontinuing the medication that is causing dry mouth will often result in the cessation of the dry mouth. However, a medication should never be discontinued without your doctor approving it first. If your doctor recommends that you should continue taking one of the medications that is causing dry mouth there are over-the-counter treatment options to help with the dry mouth. There are 3 different types of products to help treat dry mouth. The first products work quickly and are portable for relief on-the-go. There are gels, liquids, and sprays to sooth the dry mouth quickly. The second type of product is to help prevent the dry mouth by daily cleaning. Biotene makes mouthwashes and toothpastes specifically designed for people with dry mouth. The third type of product helps to stimulate salivary flow throughout the day in a gum.

Dr. McCargar, a dentist at Scottsdale Dental Arts, states that Biotene is a product he frequently recommends to patients that suffer from dry mouth. “Often, by using a series of the Biotene products, patients see improved salivary production and decreased dry mouth.” Dr. McCargar also stresses that if you are experiencing dry mouth not to ignore it because it can be causing other more serious health problems.