Problems with Dentures Caused by Xerostomia, or Dry Mouth
Summarized from “Dry mouth and Dentures”
By Randy F. Huffines, DDS Ó 2009
Saliva and oral health:
Dry mouth (also called Xerostomia) in most people is usually a side-effect of medications. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and some diseases can also cause a decrease in saliva production. It is necessary to have your dentist find the cause of your dry mouth so you can be treated properly. Most people with Xerostomia do not even know they have the condition until they have lost 50 percent of their saliva.
Saliva may appear to be only water, but this is not the case. Saliva actually works as part of your body’s immune system and contains hundreds of chemicals that make it possible to speak, chew, and swallow your food more comfortably. It also helps inhibit the germs that cause oral infections.
There are medical products you can take to replace saliva. Some pharmacists call them “artificial saliva,” but a better term for them is “oral lubricants.” However, science to date has not been able to produce a substance that can replace all of the functions of saliva. Nevertheless, many people feel that oral lubricants make their mouth feel more comfortable. Many of these lubricants can be purchased in spray bottles. Some people even use water. Let your dentist recommend which oral lubricant it best for you.
Eating with a dry mouth:
If you wear dentures, you may have a number of problems if you do not produce enough saliva. Due to inadequate lubrication, it will be difficult to chew and swallow foods—especially dry foods. You can alleviate some of this with gravies and sauces and taking frequent sips of water. You can also use take an oral lubricant a few minutes before you eat. You must remove your dentures prior to using the lubricant so it can coat the parts of the gums that support the dentures. Then place the dentures back in your mouth.
Dry mouth and denture "fit":
Saliva is needed to hold your dentures to your gums. Dentists call this retention. When your mouth is dry, your denture will feel loose. This gets worse when supporting tissues under your dentures continue to shrink through the rest of your life. The amount of shrinkage varies from person to person. As your gums shrink, the denture and the gums become mismatched. This happens a little at a time, but even a small change in denture fit becomes more noticeable when your mouth is dry.
Most people notice this more often with the lower denture. It is easier to wear dentures on the upper arch because of the size and shape of the gums. As shrinkage occurs, you many h ave to have your denture remade or relined more often than someone who has normal amounts of saliva. A relinement is a procedure where additional denture material is added to the part of the denture that contacts the gums. This makes the denture fit closely and conform to the shape of the mouth.
However, even if you have a “perfect fit,” you may still experience some looseness because you lack enough saliva to hold the denture in place. You may need a denture adhesive to help in this case. There are many types available. Your dentist can offer advice on which one will best fit your needs.
Not only may you feel an increasing sensation of looseness, but you may also have sore spots underneath your denture because you have less saliva. Without the natural lubrication it provides, there is an increase in friction between the dry denture and the gum, which results in a sore spot. Your dentist should check denture fit is as close as possible. Then, if no adjustment needs to be made to the denture, you can use an oral lubricant or a denture adhesive.
Continued problems will require additional consultation with your dentist. You may need dental implants. It has been shown that replacing dentures with implants has greatly improved the quality of life for thousands of people. Dental implants are almost identical to natural teeth in both function and appearance.
Dry mouth and oral infections:
Because saliva controls germs in your mouth, dry mouth will make you more prone to mouth infections. Candida, a yeast-like fungus, often infects the mouths of people who wear dentures. One such infection is denture stomatitis. It occurs more commonly under the upper denture, particularly in those who have dry mouth and wear their dentures while they sleep. Most cases do not cause enough pain for people to notice, and may go on for years before finally being detected.
When it is detected, it must be eliminated before new dentures are made. Your dentist may have to treat your mouth with both tissue conditioners and antifungal medications.
There is also angular cheilitis, another problem caused by Candida. It causes sores to form at the corners of the mouth. It is treated with antifungal medications. Be careful how you use these medicines because they are often used incorrectly. Talk to your dentist before use.
If you have some natural teeth, you are more likely to have tooth decay resulting in tooth loss if you have dry mouth. Without saliva to regulate germs that cause decay, bacteria can grow more and cause greater damage. Ask your dentist for ways to prevent and reduce tooth decay.
Labels: denture problems, dentures, dry mouth, xerostomia
I was diagnosis with Sjögren’s Syndrome 2 yrs ago and it has taken a toll on my teeth. I deal with the public and recently we had major cut backs at our store.
I do have dental insurance with the company, but I know out of pocket can be costly. Do you have a payment plan?
And, another thing is, I am a afraid of coming to the dentist.
The dry mouth problems that go with Sjögren’s Syndrome can be difficult to live with, as there is often a lot of decay to deal with. You should be using a concentrated prescription fluoride to rinse and brush with – much stronger than regular toothpaste, and you should also have fluoride trays to fill up with fluoride each day – you can give yourself your own fluoride treatments and minimize dental problems.
You need a comprehensive dental exam to understand your situation and to understand your options for dental treatment. We do have outside financing, and we can help you to understand those options as well. Many people are scared of dental treatment, but we will be happy to work with you to help you get successful dental treatment. Give us a call.
Chuck Campbell, DDS
Dale Brant, DDS
Labels: dry mouth, dry mouth symptoms, dry mouth treatment, Sjögren’s Syndrome
Dry mouth (Xerostomia) is the lack of saliva caused by a variety of medical conditions, behaviors, and medication side effects. It can alter the taste of food, cause plaque buildup, and increase the likelihood of gum disease and tooth decay. Saliva that is produced is often thick or stringy, causing the person to have a hard time swallowing. Dry mouth can cause sore throat and sores at the corners of the mouth that cause the skin to crack.
Healthy salivary glands are supposed to produce 3 pints of saliva daily. In addition to its obvious benefit of helping chew food and assist in digestion, saliva helps clean the surfaces of teeth and prevent plaque buildup. It also contains minerals that work against tooth decay by making it difficult for bacteria to attach themselves to teeth. Also, saliva is alkaline in nature and helps neutralize natural acids that can damage tissue in the mouth.
There are a number of causes for dry mouth. Age is one of them. Saliva production tends to naturally decrease as a person gets older. Other causes include side effects of prescription and over the counter medications. Anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication frequently cause dry mouth. Also, antihistamines, antidiuretics, muscle relaxers, and high blood pressure meds can produce this condition. Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy have reported not only a decrease in the amount of saliva in their mouths, but also a change in its consistency as well.
Very often the presence of other health problems such as clinical depression, extreme anxiety that includes panic attacks, and uncontrolled diabetes can cause Xerostomia.
If you are experiencing the symptoms of dry mouth, you need to call our office and schedule an appointment with one of our dentists. He or she will need to study your case history, examine your mouth, and possibly schedule a cat scan on the salivary glands or a blood test. Your dentist will need to also know all medical conditions you face and know about all medications you are taking.
If any medication you are taking is causing dry mouth, it may be possible to switch to another medication or alter the dosage. There are also drugs that help produce saliva that the dentist can help prescribe.
In some cases, lifestyle changes can alleviate dry mouth symptoms. Reducing sugar intake, significantly reducing alcohol consumption (or eliminating it altogether), and quitting smoking often help with saliva production. Avoid illegal drugs, period, especially methamphetamines and marijuana. These last two are notorious for causing dry mouth. Read more about dry mouth on our main website:Dry Mouth TreatmentsDry Mouth SymptomsDry Mouth Complications Call our office to schedule an appointment as soon as you can if you have any symptoms of xerostomia. Also, start practicing good dental hygeine daily in the meantime. Oral hygiene is something that every person with dry mouth also needs to practice diligently. Daily brushing and flossing minimize the possibility of teeth becoming vulnerable to decay.
Labels: dental hygeine, dry mouth, dry mouth symptoms, dry mouth treatment, dry mouth treatments, oral hygeine, saliva, xerostomia, xerostomia causes and treatment
Xerostomia, also known as dry mouth, cotton mouth, pasties, and dough mouth, is a condition that refers to a lack of saliva in the mouth. Xerostomia makes eating, swallowing, and even speaking difficult. It can cause a person to have bad breath, and it increases the chances of tooth decay. People suffering from Xerostomia need to seek medical treatment ASAP for a thorough teeth cleaning and checkup for gum disease. Corrective dentistry may be necessary, along with aggressive oral hygiene, to reverse the deterioration of tooth enamel that commonly results from Xerostomia.
Since there are so many causes of Xerostomia, treatments vary widely. Many cannot actually cure the condition, but they can offer relief from its symptoms. Many of these causes lie within the control of the person, because they are behavior related. Others however, are beyond the control of the individual and require professional care to manage the condition.
Alcohol and drugs can dehydrate tissues in the mouth and result in the loss of saliva production. In fact, the tendency of marijuana to do this led to the coining of the term cotton mouth. Methamphetamines also will cause Xerostomia and further complicate dry mouth with Bruxism by causing the jaws to clench. Smoking also dries out the mouth.
The easiest way to treat Xerostomia in these instances is to simply quit drinking, smoking, and using illegal substances.
Heavy athletic activity can also cause cases of Xerostomia. Salivary glands dry out when people breathe through their mouths instead of their noses. Also, when people exert themselves in the heat, their bodies redirect fluids normally used in the production of saliva to other parts of the body.
In most athletic activity, fluid replenishment and a conscious decision to avoid breathing through the nose can alleviate Xerostomia.
Anxiety increases the production of adrenalin. Adrenalin, in turn, affects a number of other vital and non-vital systems within the body, including the production of saliva. It is not uncommon for people who have panic attacks to also have dry mouth.
It can sometimes be very hard to treat anxiety-related Xerostomia because many anti-anxiety medications also cause dry mouth. Switching medication may be the solution. When this is not an option, salivary producing drugs may be prescribed.
Xerostomia can often result from diseases like poorly managed diabetes, clinical depression, Lambert-Eaton syndrome, and Sjögren's syndrome. There is no definitive cause and effect between these diseases and dry mouth, but enough clinical studies indicate there is a link between these diseases and dry mouth in many people. Treatment really depends on the person and his or her condition.
Xerostomia can result as a side effect of many types of medication. Anti-anxiety medication and anti-depressants can dry out the mouth. Antidiuretics can also cause dry mouth, and chemotherapy can actually change the nature, as well as the amount, of saliva. Prescription drugs can be used to treat a great number of these cases.
It is a good idea to always maintain good oral hygiene and seek regular dental cleaning. Avoid taking over the counter decongestants and antihistamines. Reduce your sugar intake as much as possible. While you should drink water for general health, it can only treat Xerostomia when it is caused by dehydration. Using water to treat dry mouth caused by something else only frustrates the situation. .
If you have dry mouth, our dentists can help you. Many times we prescribe medication for Xerostomia treatment. These include xylitol gum, a saliva substitute mouthwash, oxidized glycerol trimesters, and a drug called Aquoral.
Call our office at 713.795.5905 and see what we can do for you.
Labels: dry mouth, dry mouth treatment, xerostomia, xerostomia causes and treatment