I just visited my dentist for my regular 6 month check up. He has been aware that I had chemo and radiation treatment 5 years ago. And he was the first physician to inform me (after my treatment) that those chemicals used for my treatment can cause dry mouth which can lead to bad breath halitosis....ugh! After I have spent my whole life fighting it, it now is a permanent part of my physical condition, brought on by the treatment of my cancer!
The good news is that there are Biotene products that can help me fight it.
What do I need to know about Dry Mouth?
Everyone has a dry mouth once in a while - if they are nervous, upset or under stress. Your saliva also naturally decreases at night which can allow the growth of harmful bacteria and plaque.
But if you have dry mouth all, or most of the time, it can be uncomfortable and can lead to serious health problems.
• a sticky, dry feeling in the mouth
• problems with chewing, swallowing, tasting, or speaking
• halitosis/mouth odor
• a burning feeling in the mouth
• cracked lips
• a dry, irritated tongue
• mouth sores
• sleep interruptions due to thirst
• gum inflammation or infection in the mouth
• difficultly in wearing dentures/prosthesis
Non Oral Symptoms:
• dry throat
• dry nose
• changes in sense of smell
• dry or burning eyes
• dry skin/scalp
• vaginal itching, dryness, history of fungal infections
• breathes through the mouth
What Causes Dry Mouth?
People get dry mouth when the glands in the mouth that make saliva are not working properly. Because of this, there might not be enough saliva to keep your mouth wet. There are several reasons why these your salivary glands might not work.
• Side effects of medication. More than 400 medications can cause the salivary glands to make less saliva. As you get older, you tend to take more and more medications such as those for high blood pressure and depression.
• Disease. Some diseases affect the salivary glands. Sjogren's Syndrome, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, and Parkinson's disease can all cause dry mouth.
• Radiation therapy. The saliva glands can be damaged if they are exposed to radiation during cancer treatment.
• Chemotherapy. Drugs used to treat cancer can make the saliva thicker, causing the mouth to feel dry and also causing difficulties in speaking.
• Nerve damage. Injury to the head or neck can damage the nerves that tell salivary glands to make saliva.
Some people feel a dry mouth even if their salivary glands are working correctly. People with certain disorders, like Alzheimer's disease or those who have suffered a stroke, may not be able to feel wetness in their mouth and complain about a dry mouth.
Tips for Managing Dry Mouth
• If your dry mouth is caused by medicine, your physician might change your medicine or adjust the dose.
• Visit your dentist regularly for prophylatic maintenance. Request fluoride treatments.
• Maintain meticulous oral hygiene using SLS-free, fluoridated (Biotène Toothpaste)
• Moisten your mouth with Oralbalance. May be used under dental prostheses.
• Chew sugarless, enzymatic moisturing gum, Biotène Dental Gum.
• Avoid alcoholic, carbonated, citrus and caffeine-containing drinks.
• Apply lip lubricants or balms as required.
• Drink liquids with meals and use gravies, sauces, yogurt, broth, margarines, and mayonnaise to make food easier to swallow
• Puree foods or try soft foods like macaroni and cheese, stews, mashed potatoes, soup, scrambled eggs, cottage cheese, canned fruits and vegetables, yogurt and ice cream.
• Avoid dry foods such as cookies, toast and crackers, or soften them with liquids before eating.
• Carry a small water bottle so you can take frequent sips during the day.
• Suck sugarless hard candies (avoiding those with citric acid).
• Avoid overly salty foods.
• Avoid chewable vitamin C and acidic, sugared lozenges.
Click here for more information on how to treat bad breath.
Biotene for Dry Mouth Bad Breath