Offering Dry Mouth Sufferers Support, Guidance, and Help
Jill Meyer-Lippert, RDH
Saliva: You Don’t Know What You’ve Got Till It’s Gone
Jill Meyer-Lippert, RDH Offers Dry Mouth Sufferers Support, Guidance, and Help
My goal as Registered Dental Hygienist of nearly 30 years has been to provide support, guidance and help to those suffering with dry mouth. I have personally seen the devastating effects of dry mouth far too often. While it is commonly dismissed as simply a comfort issue, dry mouth sufferers will tell you that it can have a negative impact on various aspects of their lives.
I took a special interest in oral health problems and oral side effects associated with treatments for cancer, such as chemotherapy, very early in my career because of family experiences. I discovered that patients were suffering from increased pain and risks of infections from conditions such as dry mouth, with little or no help from their medical or dental providers. It inspired me to develop an online resource called Side Effect Support to provide information and products to help fill this gap in healthcare.
Dry mouth is a very common problem associated with many medical conditions as well as prescription and over the counter (OTC) medications. There are two different categories of dry mouth; one is called xerostomia, which is the perception of having a dry mouth, and hyposalivation, which is a measurable decrease in salivary output. Many times, these terms are used interchangeably. While it is possible to suffer from a sensation of a dry mouth without having a measurable difference in saliva flow, both are quality-of-life issues that need to be addressed.
Saliva plays important roles in:
Saliva is the first step in digestion. It moistens food, aiding in chewing and swallowing. Some people who suffer from Dry Mouth may develop thick or ropey saliva, which can also complicate swallowing.
Saliva coats and lubricates the tissue inside of your mouth and digestive tract to protect against trauma. If an injury should occur to the tissue, saliva promotes wound healing. The lubrication also helps to prevent tissue from sticking together, which can otherwise create a choking sensation.
Protects against cavities and infections
Healthy saliva promotes a stable pH in the mouth, remineralizes teeth, and helps to wash away food debris to prevent cavities. It also has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties to protect against a variety of infections.
Certain taste buds on our tongues are dependent on saliva to function properly. A dry mouth can lead to distortions in taste.
Disrupted sleep is a common complaint with the need to take sips of water throughout the night.
While there are a number of prescription and over-the-counter remedies, there is no “one size fits all” product. Unfortunately, some prescription dry mouth products may have their own unwanted side effects and contraindications. Some prescription and OTC products may be acidic or contain sugars that can damage teeth and increase infection risks. It’s important to ask a trusted dental professional if the products you are using might harm oral health.
I was very pleased to learn about Voutia as a unique drug-free option! This discreet device provides continual relief that can be adjusted for the patient’s individual needs. Voutia offers hope to dry mouth sufferers who have struggled to find a solution to improve their comfort and quality of life without damaging their teeth!
We invite you to visit https://sideeffectsupport.com/ to access:
- Free information for cancer survivors, family caregivers, and healthcare providers under our BLOGS and RESOURCES sections, including our printable “Cancer Treatments & Oral Health” patient brochure.
- Affordable over-the-counter oral care products to protect teeth and tissue, delivered right to your door.
- Virtual dental care by a licensed dentist within 10 minutes or less through a partnership with The TeleDentists.
- Direct access to additional products and services with discounts through our Partner’s Marketplace.
- Our newsletter by entering your email address on the bottom of the homepage to join our mailing list.
You can stay up-to-date by following Side Effect on social media at: