Some people know they have dry mouth, and some may not know.
As a dental professional, I need to look for signs to communicate with my patients and ask if they are experiencing dry mouth symptoms.
Many signs indicate the patient is suffering from dry mouth, and they may not piece together the signs and understand they are suffering from dry mouth/xerostomia.
- Frequently thirsty
- Sticky tongue
- Cracked lips/corners of the mouth
- Mouth sores
- Increase in tooth decay
- Change in taste
- Lipstick sticking to teeth
- Difficulty swallowing or chewing
- Uncomfortable dentures
- Waking up during sleep to drink water
- Dry mouth when waking up from sleep
Understanding Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)
Dry mouth, or xerostomia, affects a significant portion of the population, leading to discomfort and oral health issues. It’s crucial to understand that dry mouth is not only a condition but often a symptom of various factors, including;
- Medication use
- Medical treatments
- Systemic diseases
- Medical conditions
- Lifestyle choices
The importance of saliva to maintain oral health
Saliva is vital in maintaining oral health by neutralizing acids, aiding digestion, and preventing infection. Its reduction can increase the risk of dental caries, gum disease, and discomfort.
The optimal approach to the management of dry mouth
I recommend a comprehensive approach to managing dry mouth, focusing on patient education, symptom relief, and addressing underlying causes. This includes:
- Hydration: Encouraging regular water intake and avoiding dehydrating substances such as caffeine
- Stimulating Saliva Production: Using products like xylitol-containing gums and lozenges, which have been proven to stimulate saliva and reduce caries risk.
- Specialized Oral Care Products: Incorporating saliva substitutes, specialized toothpaste, and alcohol-free mouth rinses of neutral pH level to alleviate dry mouth symptoms and protect oral health.
- Lifestyle Adjustments: Recommending changes in diet and habits to enhance oral moisture and reduce dry mouth symptoms.
Specialized Oral Care Products for Dry Mouth
It is important to remember that not all products are made equally or regulated to ensure they have the amount of xylitol to have a therapeutic effect.
Here is the link to purchase it in Canada; https://en.boutique.oralscience.com/collections/x-pur-gums-pastilles/products/x-pur-gums-pastilles-100-xylitol-small-bottles.
In the United States, X-PUR is not distributed, but EPIC xylitol gum is, and it has the same amount of xylitol per piece of gum that the X-PUR brand does. Here is the link on Amazon.
The product will not be as effective if there is not enough xylitol.
Being selective about the products you purchase to help with dry mouth and its impacts is essential to have the most benefits. I don’t want you to waste your money on subpar products or have little research and regulation behind them.
Below is a selection of clinically proven products that provide relief and support for individuals suffering from dry mouth that I recommend as a dental hygienist:
Xylitol products I recommend to my patients and family
Reducing caries risk and stimulating saliva production
XyliMelts are one of the best dry mouth products to have been created. I go into more detail about them below.
Other essential oral care products for xerostomia
- Gengigel Hyaluronic Acid Oral Gel 20ml Amazon link (ideal for mouth sores and irritation to accelerate healing)
- This product helps with healing sores in the mouth and any areas of irritation. It decreases healing time and is a pleasant cooling gel to relieve the mouth.
Did you know that regular fluoride toothpastes need your saliva to activate?
So when you have reduced saliva, fluoride toothpastes do not reach their potential. Nanomedical hydroxyapatite does not need saliva to be activated and will help to remineralize the teeth.
But you must purchase a hydroxyapatite toothpaste tested and approved to reduce caries.
Many companies that sell these types of toothpaste are not regulated, so you do not know the size of the hydroxyapatite particle or the concentration/what is bioavailable.
The toothpaste linked below is the ONLY nanomedical hydroxyapatite toothpaste in Canada to have Health Canada approval to be sold as an anti-cavity/tooth remineralizing toothpaste.
- REMIN toothpaste (nanomedical hydroxyapatite) Oral Science link
Consulting with dental professionals is crucial for tailored advice and effective treatment plans, ensuring optimal care for individual needs. Please see your dental professional and medical doctor to discuss your oral health status.
If you have a dry mouth at night, or if your dry mouth is causing disruptions in your life, XyliMelts is non-negotiable. I have had patients come back to me and thank me for introducing them to this product, and it has been life-changing for them.
They are discrete tabs that adhere to your tooth, which is perfect for situations where you don’t want to be constantly sipping on water or using other things that you have to keep using,
They work over a few hours, slowly releasing xylitol to help moisten the mouth and prevent cavities!
Having a humidifier by your bed can make a HUGE difference in how your mouth feels when you sleep. It puts moisture in the air that you breathe in, preventing your nasal passageway and mouth from drying out.
A big issue with humidifiers on the market is that they are hard to clean, which can cause an increase in mould and bacteria within the humidifier. So, finding one that is easy to clean is essential.
I hope I have helped you find some things that will help alleviate your dry mouth and help you achieve better oral health! 🙂