DRY MOUTH (Xerostomia) is the decreased production and/or flow of saliva. It is not a disease but can be a symptom of certain diseases and medical situations. Xerostomia is manifested in complaints of oral dryness, burning of the tissues, difficulty eating and swallowing, irritation of the tongue and painful ulcerations as well as significantly progressive and sometimes uncontrollable decay and periodontal disease. Burning tongue (glossodynia) may become quite severe with chronic dryness, resulting in atrophy and painful fissuring and loss of the surface mucosa, often interfering with nutritional intake. It can also affect denture wearers. Needless to say, there are high levels of discomfort and oral disease in individuals plagued with xerostomia.
Xerostomia counteracts the protective properties that saliva provides. Saliva functions to protect tooth enamel and prevents demineralization; it buffers decay causing acids, removes food residue, and inhibits bacterial growth. Some of the complications of Xerostomia that logically follow include dental decay, gum disease and tooth loss.
Xerostomia has serious negative effects on the quality of life, affecting dietary habits, nutritional status, speech, and taste. It is the hidden cause of decay, gum disease and tooth loss in 3 of every 10 adults.
What conditions can lead to xerostomia?
- CANCER THERAPY radiation therapy and chemotherapy
- NERVE DAMAGE trauma or surgery to the neck & head
- MEDICAL CONDITIONS such as Sjogrens Syndrome, Lupus, HIV/AIDS, bone marrow transplants, Diabetes Mellitus, Parkinsons Disease, stress, anxiety, depression, nutritional deficiencies
- MEDICATIONS including prescriptions drugs and over-the-counter drugs
Measures that can help to alleviate dry mouth include the use of a humidifier: elimination of caffeine found in coffee, tea, soda & chocolate; chewing sugarless gum or sucking on hard sugarless candies that contain Xylitol (tart fruit, mint or cinnamon flavors are most effective in stimulating saliva production); quit smoking it dries out the mouth; reduce beer, wine & liquor consumption alcohol is a diuretic; increased consumption of water & sugar-free beverages; use of artificial saliva products; inquire about switching or adjusting dosages of mouth drying medications.
Medications Causing or Aggravating Dry Mouth
The following are lists of both prescription and over-the-counter medications that may cause or aggravate this condition. As with all medications, you should discuss potential side-effects with your Doctor or Pharmacist before use or discontinuation.
Adipex-P, Fastin, Ionamin, Zantryl (phentermine)
Anorex SR, Adipost, Bontril PDM (phendimtrazine)
Mazanor, Sanorex (mazindol)
Pondimin, Fen-Phen (fenfluramine)
Tenuate, Tepanil, Ten-Tab (diethylpropion)
- Accutane (isotretinoin)
Atarax, Vistaril (hydroxyzine)
Equanil, Miltown (meprobamate)
Atropisol, Sal-Tropine (atropine)
Bellergal (belladonna alkaloids)
Donnatal, Kinesed (hyoscyamne with atropine, phenobarbital, scopolamine)
Librax (chlordiazepoxide with clidinium)
Imodium AD (loperamide)
Lomotil (diphenoxylate with atropine)
Motofen (difenoxin with atropine)
Actifed (triprolidine with psuedoephedrine)
Dimetapp (brompheniramine with phenylpropanolamine)
- ANTIINFLAMMATORY ANALGESIC
Cogentin (benztropine mesylate)
Sinemet (carbidopa with levodopa)
Proventil, Ventolin (albuterol)
Ornade (phenylpropanolamine with hyfrochlorothiazide)
Dyazide, Maxzide (triamterene and hydrochlorothiazide)
HydroDIURIL, Esidrix (hydrochlorothiazide)
- MUSCLE RELAXANT
Norflex, Disipal (orphenadrine)
- NARCOTIC ANALGESIC
MS Contin (morphine)