What Is Xerostomia?
Xerostomia is a medical condition most commonly known as dry mouth. According to Dr. Angela Homoky of Homoky Dentistry, a general dentist in Port Charlotte, Florida, xerostomia is a condition that is much more common than most people realize.
Dr. Homoky says that it’s important to note that xerostomia is not a disease. Rather, it is a medical condition that can result from having a reduced saliva flow, or no saliva flow at all. Xerostomia is generally a symptom of another medical condition or a side effect of certain medications.
At Dr. Homoky’s practice, patients come in frequently complaining of dry mouth. And in most cases, the first question she asks is what medications they are taking.
Currently, there are several hundred medications on the market that are known to cause dry mouth. Some of the most common medications that fall into this category are blood pressure drugs, antidepressants, diuretics, antihistamines, and tranquilizers.
In addition to being a side effect of taking certain medications, xerostomia is also a well-known side effect of radiation and chemotherapy treatments. Obviously, patients are not going to choose to forego such treatments to avoid dry mouth. With that in mind, Dr. Homoky says that it’s important that dentists provide tips and advice on how patients can help alleviate their dry mouth symptoms, especially when they cannot stop the treatments in question.
Dr. Homoky says that the options for dealing with dry mouth are known as palliative treatments, which means that they help the condition but do not cure it entirely. One example is the array of artificial saliva products and rinses available on the market. However, according to Dr. Homoky, the cheapest treatment option is simply to drink more water. She recommends that anyone suffering from xerostomia try sipping water continually throughout the day to keep the mouth moist. Avoiding alcohol and alcohol-based mouth rinses is also important, since alcohol can dry out the mouth even more.
When it comes to dining, Dr. Homoky recommends that patients with xerostomia look into eating foods that have been prepared with additional herbs and spices. Oftentimes there is a diminished taste involved with having a dry mouth, and patients are able to enjoy their food more when extra herbs and spices have been added.
*Disclaimer: The information on this website is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your healthcare provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with an appropriate healthcare provider.