Cotton Mouth (Xerostomia)

It is a condition which occurs when the salivary gland function is reduced. For example; aging, several systemic diseases (AIDS, diabetes, Parkinson's), loss of masticatory ability, surgical removal of salivary glands, permanent damage on salivary glands after radiotherapy, various medications (blood pressure, antidepressants etc.), caffeine and alcohol consumption are major causes of xerostomia. As a result of the reduction in saliva, very serious conditions such as burning sensation on tongue, difficulty in consuming solid food, speech problems, frequent vomitting, difficulty in the use of dentures, lip dryness, reduced or distorted sense of taste (hypogeusia, dysgeusia) and oral malodor may occur. The antiseptic properties of saliva keeps teeth clean and prevents decay. On patients with xerostomia, due to the fact that bacterial plaque and food particles will not be able to be cleaned by saliva, tendency for gingival diseases and decay formation will increase.

How Is Xerostomia Controlled?

The patients need to frequently hydrate themselves and chew sugar-free gum. Tobacco and alcohol consumption needs to be reduced and artificial saliva tablets need to be used. Regularly using mouthwash that stimulates saliva flow and toothpaste are other types of precautions.