My favorite quote is from a genius. “There are only two ways to live your life; One is as though nothing is a miracle, and the other is as though everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein
Recently, a large number of patients have complained to me that they are experiencing dry mouth. The medical term for the lack of saliva is xerostomia. The most common cause of xerostomia is medications, cancer therapy, Sjogrens syndrome, nerve damage, and age. Xerostomia can affect a patient’s quality of life by affecting speech, taste, nutritional status, intolerence to dental prosthesis, and an increase in tooth decay. In most patient’s cases the cause of the xerostomia is the prescription medication they are taking. Since we are often unable to eliminate the cause our office focuses on the symptoms. We recommend a number of options in treating xerostomia. Most important is the patient maintain a high level of hydration by drinking a lot of water. Patients suffering from xerostomia can also buy artificial salivia (available over the counter), use biotene products, avoid alcohol base mouth wash and use a water and glycerin mix in a spray bottle. There is a prescription medication (pilocarpine) which can be used to treat xerostomia. I would only recommend this in cases where palliative measures have been ineffective. In our office the most undesireable side effect of xerostomia is a dramatic increase in tooth decay. Patients who are experiencing a high caries rate are usually put on a concentrated flouride toothpaste and instructed to be miticulous in their oral hygiene.
Recently we added an oral hygiene section to our website. Please visit the hygiene section for the latest and greatest hygiene tips written by my lovely wife Laura.
Michael W. Dagostino, DDS