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What can you do to Treat Dry Mouth?

Dry mouth is when salivary glands don’t produce a normal amount of saliva to lubricate the tissues of your mouth. When the mouth is too dry, teeth are more susceptible to decay, lips are more likely to dry, and sores or ulcers can develop in the mouth. There are many causes contributing to dry mouth, many of which are connected to side effects of medication.


Dry mouth can be triggered in a number of ways:

  • There are hundreds of medicines that have documented dry mouth as a known side effect. Speak to your doctor to switch to another medicine that doesn’t produce the same effects.
  • Dehydration is also linked directly to dry mouth. High-intensity exercise or water loss through the expulsion of bodily fluids (like diarrhea) are temporary. Dehydration may or may not be treatable simply by drinking more water.
  • Infection of the glands can reduce the amount of saliva produced. A doctor can prescribe antibiotics for resolving the infection.
  • Mouth breathing, either through habit or because of compromised nasal passages and sinuses, will speed up the evaporation of moisture in the mouth. Consider speaking to your doctor who will recommend a regimen for recurrent stuffy noses.
  • Some other causes are more complicated to treat, such as Sjogren’s syndrome, obstructions blocking the salivary flow, compromised nerve endings in the face, AIDS, cerebral palsy, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, hormonal changes, and lupus.

There are dental care products designed for people who suffer from dry mouth. Look for toothpaste and mouthwash that provide temporary relief. There are also prescription substitutes that wet the mouth to be used under a doctor’s supervision.

Non-medical prevention measures

You can encourage the production of saliva by monitoring your diet.

  • Drink water and eat foods with high water content, such as fruit and vegetables or soup.
  • Chewing triggers the mouth into salivating, so chewy foods and the gum will get your glands going.
  • Smoking, drinking, caffeinated drinks, and spicy foods actually increase dry mouth. If you’re thirsty, drink water instead of coffee.

Addressing the symptoms

Dry mouth may not be completely resolved by medication and diet. There are steps to take to relieve the effects:

  • Chapped lips will be soothed using dedicated balms or chapstick.
  • Take care in oral health to prevent tooth decay.
  • Reduce your sugar intake to protect teeth and gums.
  • Soft foods will aggravate mouth ulcers less, unlike brittle or hard foods.

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Our governing College, Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario (RCDSO) has advised dentists that they strongly recommend that all non-essential and elective dental services should be suspended immediately. Public safety is our number one concern. We need to put our patients’ interests and the safety of the community, first. Ontario has declared a state of emergency, and the Canadian government is strongly urging all Canadians to practice social distancing.

Dental hygiene services in a time of a "pandemic" are not considered emergency or essential services. Our College has advised that we postpone all appointments for Hygiene scaling/cleanings until further notice. We may however, be open for EMERGENCIES. We ask that you call one of our offices to schedule this, and to be pre-screened.

What is the definition of an essential service?

In dentistry, a “true emergency situation” includes oral-facial trauma, significant infection, prolonged bleeding or pain which cannot be managed by over-the-counter medications.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, we are here for you and want to help. Please call our offices to speak with one of our representatives who will be able to screen and advise you accordingly.  CONSULTATIONS OVER THE PHONE will be available with the Doctor, if needed.

This strong recommendation to suspend non-essential services, is being followed in interest of the public, our patients and our Team. We all need to act in a socially responsible manner. The College will revisit this recommendation in the first week of April. We will continue to keep you up to date.

Stay safe, and healthy.

Drs. Jim Argyropoulos, Robert Polese, Ari Voudouris & Associates