People who suffer from xerostomia often wonder if an effective treatment or remedy to combat the lack of saliva exists that will restore the normal amount of saliva in the mouth.
There are different treatments and remedies for dry mouth depending on the patient (age, general health…) and the main cause of dry mouth.
To determine the most effective treatment for dry mouth, first you need to know if the cause is a reversible or irreversible problem, and if it is possible to recover the glandular activity. It is also necessary to determine whether the glandular activity can be stimulated by a mechanical, chemical, or gustatory method.
Ideally, the treatment of dry mouth should be started by the patient. The patient should avoid risk factors that could aggravate their condition, such as smoking or drinking alcohol. Furthermore, the patient will require a visit to the doctor to explain their symptoms.
Treatment of reversible dry mouth
As stated in the article about the types of dry mouth, reversible xerostomia is a situation in which the normal functioning of the salivary glands is altered temporarily by a specific cause (drugs, obstruction of ducts, stress…). In these cases, when the underlying problem is resolved, the salivary glands recover their normal function.
The most common cause of dry mouth is the intake of certain drugs. There are more than 500 drugs that have this side effect. In these cases, the doctor should assess if it is possible to reduce, eliminate or substitute those medicines for others that do not have this effect.
If it is not possible to eliminate or subsitute the drug, you can try to change the times for taking the medication to try to manage the timing of the side effects.
Furthermore, tips to try can be explained to the patient that would reduce the symptoms of dry mouth and and products can be recommended such as mouthwashes, and gels.
Dry mouth caused by chemotherapy is also a temporary situation that usually disappears a few weeks after completing treatment.
With radiotherapy treatments, salivary glands take much longer to regain their functionality. If radiation therapy has been directed to the head or neck, salivary glands may be affected permanently.
Dry mouth can also be due to psychological causes (depression, anxiety or stress), neurological disorders, nutritional factors, salivary duct blockages, infections, endocrine or thyroid dysfunction or hypertension. In these cases nerves, blood vessels, or the salivary glands may be affected. Patients will likely fully recover the normal level of saliva once they receive treatment or the problem causing dry mouth has been resolved.
During this time, the patient can follow some simple tips to relieve dry mouth and use specific products for dry mouth such as mouthwashes, gels, and specially formulated toothpastes.
Also during this time it is essential to maintain good oral hygiene to prevent oral complications resulting from dry mouth.