|Do you feel like you have
less saliva than you used to? Does your mouth feel dry especially at mealtime?
Do you have trouble eating dry foods? Is swallowing difficult? Do you need
to moisten your mouth often or sip liquids often?
If you answer yes, you are
one of many people who suffer from xerostomia .
Xerostomia can cause health
problems by affecting nutrition as well as psychological health. It can
contribute to and increase the chances of contracting tooth decay and mouth
infections. With the aging of America the number of Older Americans is
increasing. It is normal for the gums to recede as we age and the incidence
of Root Surface decay is increasing especially in people who are taking
Xerostomia is not
a disease, but it can be a symptom of certain diseases. Xerostomia can
result from medical treatment or as a side effect of many medications.
Many times xerostomia is caused by failure of the salivary glands to function
Saliva has important
functions which include:
for Xerostomia include:
food debris and plaque from the teeth to help prevent decay.
growth of bacteria that cause tooth decay and other mouth infections.
teeth and supply minerals that allow remineralization of early cavities.
foods so they may be swallowed more easily.
enzymes that aid in digestion.
enjoy foods by aiding in the "tasting" process.
the skin inside the mouth to make chewing and speaking easier.
If you suspect you have xerostomia,
visit your dentist or physician to determine the exact cause.
- Several hundred current medications can cause xerostomia. The major drug
groups are antihypertensives and antidepressants. Analgesics, tranquilizers,
diuretics, and antihistamines can also cause dry mouth.
Therapy - Chemotherapeutic drugs can change the flow and composition
of the saliva. Radiation treatment that is focused on or near the salivary
gland can temporarily or permanently damage the salivary glands.
syndrome - an autoimmune disease, causes
xerostomia and dry eyes.
-such as bone marrow transplants, endocrine disorders, stress, anxiety,
depression, and nutritional deficiencies may cause xerostomia.
- Trauma to the head and neck area from surgery or wounds can damage the
nerves that supply sensation to the mouth. While the salivary glands may
be left intact, they cannot function normally without the nerves that signal
them to produce saliva.
- Alzheimer's disease or stroke may change the ability to perceive oral
obtained from dentistry.about.com
substitutes are available to moisten and lubricate the mouth
hard candies may be helpful in stimulating saliva flow
may be added, changed, or dosages altered to provide increased salivary
and Biotene offer
much promise in alleviating xerostomia
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A. Greene, DDS-FAGD
Birdcreek Terrace Temple, TX 76502 254.773.9007 | Fax 254.773.8051
A. Greene, DDS-FAGD | Online since 1996 | Updated Continuously