Dry mouth can describe both the feeling of dry mouth (xerostomia) and the physical reduction in the flow of saliva (hyposalivation). Dry mouth can be caused by many things, including medications, disease, radiation illness, aging or even stress. Consistent dry mouth not only can impact your quality of life by making it difficult to swallow and speak, but also it can negatively impact your Oral Health. In fact, consistent dry mouth can result in in the loss of enamel from the tooth surface, due to a person’s inability to buffer low pH from acidic food and drinks. Depending on the level of saliva in the mouth, we can also detect an increase in dental decay, plaque, periodontal disease, gingivitis and other oral irritations.
Why is Saliva so Important?
Saliva provides a ‘first defense’ against chemical, mechanical and infectious attacks. It also:
- Helps you digest food
- Protects your teeth from decay
- Helps fight against infections by controlling bacteria in the mouth
- Buffers the oral environment from acidic foods and drinks into a safer, more neutral pH
Moisturizing products, such as Biotene, (Oral Rinse, Gel, and Spray) contain humectants (substances that help to retain water in the underlying tissues) and lubricants (substances that create a physical coating) to help moisturize and lubricate your mouth. Water does not “moisturize,” but its relief is brief due to lack of humectants. However, we certainly do not discourage you from sipping water to help relieve your Dry Mouth symptoms. While these products are in use as a moisturizing agent, it does not buffer the oral environment. Biotene products can be purchased at your neighborhood dental aisle.
pH Buffering Products:
Ml Paste is a water-based topical paste containing a patented bioavailable calcium and phosphate combination called Recaldent. It is for use in the dental office or may be dispensed to patients for use at home. When applied to the oral environment in the presence of saliva, the manufacturer reports that it binds to biofilms, plaque, bacteria, hydroxyapatite, and soft tissues, localizing the bioavailable calcium and phosphate. This mechanism in turn assists in inhibiting demineralization and promoting remineralization by releasing calcium and phosphate under acid challenge and helps facilitate the immediate sealing of dentinal tubules. Indications for use include highcaries risk individuals such as orthodontic patients and those with xerostomia as well as patients who experience sensitivity as the result of recession, scaling and root planing and bleaching. Ml Paste can be purchased through your dental office.
FAQ. (n.d.). Retrieved August 08, 2019, from Biotene: https://www.biotene.com/dry-mouth-faq/
Ml Paste. (n.d.). Retrieved August 08, 2019, from Dental Advisor: https://www.dentaladvisor.com/evaIuations/mi-paste/
By Marie Benson, RDH