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Ask the Dentist about Dry Mouth


How do I treat this dry mouth?

The first step in treating dry mouth is determining the cause. Are you taking any of the following medications? Tricyclics, SSRIs, clonidine, antihistamines, oxybutynin, or any other anticholinergics? If you answered yes, then discuss with the doctor that prescribed the medicine if it is possible for you to stop the medicine, switch to another, or possibly lower the dose. (Please note we do not recommend you stop any medication without your doctor’s permission.) If you answered that you do not use the above medications, then do you use caffeine, or tobacco, or drink alcohol? If you answer yes, then start decreasing the amount that you use. If you use tobacco there are solutions for breaking that bad habit. If you still answered no to the above, then other culprits can be poor diabetes control, cancer radiation, or an autoimmune disease called Sjogren’s syndrome.

The second step is finding a treatment that helps. Swishing water in the mouth frequently and using a humidifier at night is a great place to start. Sugarless hard candy or gum can also help to stimulate saliva. (Check the ingredients and choose sugar-free candy containing xylitol which studies show may actually help to prevent cavities). These stimulants will only work if your salivary glands are working properly. If they are not working properly, then you will need to use a saliva substitute, such as Biotene Gel, or Mouth Kote.