Ask Archer Dental: Allergy Season and Dry Mouth

Ask Archer Dental” is a chance for you to ask us any of your dental questions or concerns. Our team will answer as many of your questions as possible every month. We hope this feature will help to relieve anxieties that some may experience when thinking about visiting the dentist or other dental worries. You can send us your questions via email at info@archerdental.ca or Twitter @archerdentalca

QUESTION:

My mouth seems to be quite dry recently. Why is this? What can I do to help?

ANSWER:

The Cause of Dry Mouth

With the arrival of allergy season comes the side effects of dry mouth (also referred to as Xerostomia) often caused by popular over the counter allergy medications.  Antihistamines commonly used to alleviate allergy symptoms, such as watery eyes or itchy nose, can cause a drying effect in your oral cavity.  Dry mouth becomes problematic because we all need saliva to cleanse, moisten and fight against infection in our mouths.

The Signs and Symptoms of Dry Mouth

Symptoms of dry mouth include a dry, sticky feeling in the throat and mouth, burning or tingling of the tongue, difficulty chewing, speaking or swallowing, cracked lips and corners of the mouth and bad breath.  From a dental perspective, dry mouth causes increase risk of gingivitis, infections, tooth decay and uncomfortable denture wear.

What Can You Do to Help?

To improve dry mouth seek the guidance of your doctor to see if changing your dose of allergy medication can help. Otherwise, try to improve your salivary flow by sucking on sugar free candy, chewing gum, increasing your water intake, using a room vaporizer to moisten the air at night, or trying artificial salivary substitutes, such as Biotene products that can be found at any drug store.  Lastly, protect your teeth by using a fluoridated toothpaste and visit your dentist on a regular basis.

Answered by Chandula Samarajeeva,  RDH at Archer Dental