What is Xerostomia?

Symptoms of Xerostomia

Xerostomia, or dry mouth, happens when your body does not produce enough saliva to keep your mouth wet. Patients with Xerostomia have symptoms such as mouth dryness, oral burning, swallowing difficulty, and decreased or altered taste. Anyone can develop a dry mouth but this condition is largely affected by factors like age, diabetes, and certain medication. Although dry mouth is not a life-threatening condition, it can lead to more severe health concerns.

Symptoms of Xerostomia

There are many medications and health concerns that lead to dry mouth, so it can be difficult to find the root cause. Similarly, the symptoms are common with many other conditions. If you have had ongoing symptoms like the ones on our list, it may be time to discuss with the oral health experts of Sedation Dental Care.

  • Dryness or a feeling of stickiness in your mouth

  • Saliva that seems thick and stringy

  • Bad breath

  • Difficulty chewing, speaking, and swallowing

  • Dry or sore throat and hoarseness

  • Dry or grooved tongue

  • A changed sense of taste

  • Problems wearing dentures

Diabetes and Dry Mouth 

Xerostomia is often linked to older patients and patients with diabetes. When a person becomes older, their mouth naturally becomes more dry leading to chronic xerostomia. It is important to keep in mind that your teeth and mouth will need different levels of care as your age. 

Diabetes is also often linked to xerostomia. Whether a person has Type I or Type 2 diabetes, managing blood sugar levels is important. People with diabetes are more likely to experience a lack of saliva and therefore develop Xerostomia. Unfortunately, many people do not know they are diabetic which prevents them from seeking proper treatment for their condition & the associated complications. 

Treating Xerostomia

Xerostomia is a common symptom that has various causes. To diagnose properly, we recommend a visit to our office. Here, we can complete a comprehensive diagnostic and treatment plan to improve your oral comfort and functions. Treatment for xerostomia may include salivary flow stimulation, lifestyle changes, and possible changes in your prescription drug use. Your doctor or dentist may prescribe you medication, such as Salagen or Evoxac that stimulate your saliva production glands and minimize the negative effects of xerostomia. We will work closely with you and your general physician to find a plan that works for you.

Not going to the dentist in time could lead to more severe consequences like needing dental implants or other dental procedures. If your dry mouth condition has already caused significant damage to your teeth Sedation Dental Care specialists, in Raleigh, NC, can guide you through the correct treatment. Treatment can be proactive to support your body’s natural healing process or restorative if you have suffered infection or tooth loss. Our wide range of services means you can have many or all of your treatments done in one location and with one dedicated team who knows your dental history and preferences. 

At-Home Relief and What to Avoid

Xerostomia can happen to anyone for different reasons. However, if you have Xerostomia, it is important to know the things you can do to avoid worsening the condition and some tips that can help.

  • Hydrate frequently to avoid dryness.

  • Chewing sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva production.

  • Sucking on sugar-free candy to stimulate saliva production.

  • Avoiding caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, and dry or hard-to-chew foods

  • Regular oral hygiene and dental care. 

Certain medications and cancer therapies may cause dry mouth or xerostomia as a side effect. If you believe that your medication is causing you to have a dry mouth consult with your doctor about adjusting your dosage level or switching it to another medication that avoids dry mouth and other unwanted side effects.

Dan Davidian, DDS

Dr. Dan Davidian received his Doctorate of Dental Surgery from UNC School of Dentistry and  trained at Ohio State in advanced Airway Management. He Trained at the Medical College of Georgia and received his IV sedation Certificate as well as additional Advanced Life Support Training. Dr. Davidian holds a fellowship from the International Congress of Oral Implantologists: ICOI and has additional training in: complete cosmetic restorations and makeovers, mini-dental implant restoration and placement for denture stabilization, same-day implant placement and restoration, and cosmetic and neuromuscular rehabilitation. 

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