Radio Spot – Dry mouth also known as Xerostomia

Ben: Thanks for joining us, AM1440 KUHL, it is Thursday and time once again for Doctor Dino’s Cool Truths About the Tooth with the Doctor Dino Bonyadi back with us in studio. Doctor, good morning to you.

Dr. Dino: Good morning, Ben.

Ben: Well, thanks for being here and today we’re going to be talking about something that maybe people are dealing with right now. It is actually called xerostomia, otherwise known as dry mouth. Tell us about this.

Dr. Dino: Yeah. Xerostomia basically is, as you said, dry mouth. About 20 percent of our elderly population and a large majority of patients who are on certain medications are affected by this. Xerostomia, dry mouth in itself, it’s not a disease. It’s a symptom of various medical conditions. It could be a side effect of radiation, to head and neck, it could be a side effect of a vast variety of other medications.

Ben: So, doctor, what medications can complicate this issue?

Dr. Dino: Yeah. They found that antihistamines could cause this. Psychotic drugs, antidepressants, anti-Parkinson’s Disease, diuretics, sedatives can actually ’cause dry mouth.

Ben: So, are there any treatments for this?

Dr. Dino: Well, we cannot cure this, but we can treat the symptoms. Some of the things that patients can do to relive the symptoms are using toothpaste that do not have sodium laurel sulfate in them. By having an excellent oral hygiene. By using fluoride gel, which their doctors can prescribe in special trays that they can wear. They can use humidifiers in their bedroom at night when they’re sleeping. They can eat food rich in water, such watermelons. And they can take over the counter saliva substitutes.

Ben: So, it could be something going on in their mouth or their body, but it also could be their environment.

Dr. Dino: Yes, absolutely. As we age, our saliva biochemistry changes. It becomes more thick and more viscous. And because of that, what happens is bacteria thrive in that environment because they adhere to the teeth, they adhere to the gums and they grow faster. Also, with elderly patients, especially the ones who are wearing removable appliances such as partial dentures and dentures, this can become a very big problem, because a lack of saliva will cause sores and lacerations on the tissue.

Ben: So, this could lead to some serious complications.

Dr. Dino: Yes, and we also have to remember, as we discussed in our other programs, that digestion begins in the mouth. Saliva is one of the first chemicals or enzymes, liquid that starts digesting the food and breaking down the food in the mouth. So if you’re lacking in that, well, you’re going to have a little bit harder time digesting your food.

Ben: We are speaking to Doctor Dino Bonyadi. Doctor Dino’s Cool Truths About the Tooth. We are talking about xerostomia or dry mouth. And doctor, I guess for some people, I mean, this can be a pretty serious issue. You mentioned issues with the gums, but what about cavities?

Dr. Dino: Yes. This could lead to cavities growing fast, and we call it rampant decay. It’s just out of control. I have had patients where we restore the teeth, we get fillings, we get crowns in and just within six months, a year, everything is decaying. So yes, this could become a very expensive and problematic issue. And like I said, the only thing we can do is to offset the symptoms is by taking better care of our teeth, as I mentioned, such as brushing and flossing regularly and consuming lots of liquids.

Dr. Dino: Now, audience should be careful. I have patients who, they tell me they sip on water all day long or they drink a lot of water. Remember, drinking too much water is not good for you either because it depletes your body of electrolytes. So if you are drinking water a lot, which is very good for you, but excessive amounts of it could cause problems. You want to make sure that the water you’re drinking is fortified with electrolytes or you may want to squeeze a little bit of fruit juice or consume sport drinks with along the water throughout the day to prevent loss of electrolytes.

Ben: So not completely just water, but kind of mix that up a little bit.

Dr. Dino: Yes. Make sure it’s sugar-free, of course, when you’re taking it.

Ben: And doctor, you mentioned seniors having an issue with this. What about children having dry mouth?

Dr. Dino: Well, children, unless they’re born with the condition, they will not suffer from this. I am yet to see a child with that. But mainly we’re seeing this as a side effect to medications. Another thing we can do is perhaps you can talk to your physician to see if they can change your medication to a different medication where it doesn’t have these side effects.

Ben: But if you are experiencing dry mouth, try to do something about that. Don’t let that go unchecked.

Dr. Dino: Definitely. Because all it’s going to do is to lead into bigger problems.

Ben: Well, a very good topic here today, and hopefully that’s going to help a lot of folks. And matter of fact, doctor folks are trying to get a hold of you if they want an issue discussed here on the program, what’s a good way to get a hold of you?

Dr. Dino: Well, they can email me through my website, which is or they can call the office at 925-7343.

Ben: And we can like you on Facebook.

Dr. Dino: Please do, thank you.

Ben: Doctor Dino’s Cool Truths About the Tooth. Doctor, we’ll see you next time.

Dr. Dino: Thank you, Ben, and I’d like to wish our audience a happy Fourth of July.