Is Xerostomia Making Your Life Uncomfortable?

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Does your mouth feel constantly dry? If it does, then you may have xerostomia – also known as dry mouth.

What is dry mouth? Simply, a lack of saliva. You need saliva to keep your mouth moist, to cleanse it, and to digest food. In addition, your saliva controls bacteria and fungi which prevents infections in your mouth. If you suffer from dry mouth, you are at a higher risk of gingivitis (gum disease), tooth decay, and mouth infections, such as thrush. Dry mouth can also make it hard to wear dentures.

Dry Mouth Causes

Medications. One of the leading causes of dry mouth are certain types of prescription and nonprescription drugs. Among the main culprits are drugs used to treat pain, depression, allergies, anxiety, obesity, colds, epilepsy, acne, diarrhea, hypertension, nausea, asthma, urinary incontinence, psychotic disorders and Parkinson's disease. Muscle relaxants and sedatives can also produce dry mouth.

The side effects of certain diseases and infections. Dry mouth can be a side effect of certain medical conditions, including HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, mumps, cystic fibrosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjögren's syndrome, Parkinson's disease, hypertension, stroke, anemia and diabetes.

The side effects of some medical treatments. If the salivary glands are damaged, it can reduce the amount of saliva that you produce. Cancer treatments that involve radiation to the neck and head or chemotherapy can cut down on the amount of saliva produced.

Nerve damage. An injury or surgery in the head or neck can create nerve damage that causes dry mouth.

Dehydration. If you become dehydrated because of excessive sweating, fever, vomiting, blood loss, diarrhea and burns, these can lead to dry mouth.

Removal of the salivary glands through surgery.

Your lifestyle. If you smoke or chew tobacco, the amount of saliva you produce can be affected and this can aggravate dry mouth. If you regularly breath with your mouth open you may also experience dry mouth.

Dry Mouth Symptoms

  • A sticky, dry feeling in the mouth
  • A dry feeling in the throat
  • Frequent thirst
  • A burning or tingling sensation in the mouth and especially on the tongue
  • Bad breath
  • A dry, red, raw tongue
  • Sores in the mouth; sores or split skin at the corners of the mouth; cracked lips
  • Hoarseness, dry nasal passages, sore throat
  • Problems speaking or trouble tasting, chewing, and swallowing

Dry Mouth Treatment

If you are taking a medication that may be causing your dry mouth, talk to your dentist about the problem. He may suggest that you talk to your medical doctor about adjusting the dosage you take or switching to a different drug that doesn't cause dry mouth.

Another option is to use an oral rinse such as Biotene to restore the moisture in your mouth. You might also consider Salagen, which is a medication that increases saliva production.

Additional steps you can try that can help improve saliva production include:

  • Try sucking on sugar-free candy or chew sugar-free gum.
  • Drink lots of water to help keep your mouth moist.
  • Brush with a fluoride toothpaste, use a fluoride rinse, and visit your dentist regularly.
  • Breathe through your nose, not your mouth, as much as possible.
  • Use a room vaporizer to add moisture to the bedroom air.
  • Use an over-the-counter artificial saliva substitute.

SOURCE: WebMD

9 Stocking Stuffers To Brighten Smiles This Christmas

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Candy canes and chocolate are usual “go-to” items for stuffing Christmas stockings. This year, why not add some mouth-friendly items that will enhance your child or partner’s oral health and help brighten their smile?

We have nine ideas for you this Christmas that are sure to light up the faces of the recipients.

Chewing Gum With Xylitol: Putting gum infused with Xylitol in stockings will provide a double bonus. Chewing gum following a meal stimulates saliva in your mouth, and saliva is extremely efficient at acting as a buffer to acid and removing food particles from your mouth. And if the gum contains the natural sweetener Xylitol, the user will get a second benefit – studies have linked regular use of Xylitol to reduced tooth decay.

Toothpastes With Flavor: You’ve probably heard of bubble-gum flavored toothpaste, or mint-flavored toothpaste. But how about chocolate, ice cream, cupcake, or bacon-flavored toothpaste. In fact, you can even get pickle-flavored toothpaste (we say ‘ick’ to that)! Get your kids (and even adults) excited about brushing with a flavored toothpaste. Just make sure it contains fluoride, an essential cavity-fighter.

Flavored Floss: Spice up your daily oral health routine with some flavored floss. Most floss is pretty boring, but change that this Christmas by putting flavored floss in stockings. You’ll find everything from cinnamon to banana – and lots of other options. Remember, the best oral hygiene routine includes brushing and flossing. If flossing is something your family struggles to do, make it easier for them. Put floss picks in their stockings rather than regular string floss.

Fun Toothbrushes: You should be replacing your toothbrush – and your child’s toothbrush – every three to four months. Give everyone a new toothbrush this Christmas, and then replace it again at Easter and just before they go back to school in late August. Buy toothbrushes that are fun – and appropriate – for the different members of your family. Be sure to get soft-bristled toothbrushes for toddlers. There are lots of favorite characters for school-aged children, and “smart” toothbrushes that play tunes or light up to help a child keep track of how long to brush.

Colgate Wisps: These are tiny disposable toothbrushes that are perfect for when you’re on the go – at work, school or even a night out with friends. They’ve been around awhile, but are so convenient and cute that they are always a good oral health stocking stuffer.

Electric Toothbrush: This is a great alternative to a manual toothbrush. The basic models are very affordable and you can get them with oscillating, vibrating or sonic brush heads. Some even are themed for kids and play a tune for a couple of minutes to encourage the right amount of time spent brushing.

Cool Toothbrush Holder: Stuff your child’s stocking with a toothbrush holder that’s sure to get their attention. You’ll find everything from robot to animal-shaped toothbrush holders available. Many depict a favorite character of the child’s and have space for both their toothbrush and toothpaste.

Plaque-Disclosing Tablets: These are both functional and fun. You use them after brushing your teeth, and any areas that are colored red means you missed that area when you brushed or flossed, since the tablet has a red-colored ingredient that clings to plaque.

FLIX - Interdental Stick: This is another “go-to” for cleaning your teeth in-between regular brushings when you’re away from home. FLIX will remove plaque, freshen your breath, massage gum tissue, reduce odor-causing bacteria, and provide a fluoride treatment.

Sources: Delta Dental, Colgate, FLIX

 

 

Give Your Teeth A Healthy Thanksgiving This Year

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