Dry mouth? You’re not alone

March 19, 2018

Xerostomia

A dry mouth, or ‘Xerostomia’ is a problem suffered by many and can have an impact on our chewing and swallowing ability. It can be a debilitating condition and cause all sorts of secondary problems. A dry mouth can develop as a result of general ageing, some medications, post-radiation effects for head and neck cancer, smoking, coffee and alcohol intake, thyroid issues, HIV, and diabetes.

How can a dry mouth affect your swallowing ability and quality of life? It can:

  • Make chewing more difficult and sometimes painful.
  • Make it harder to push food and pills from the mouth to the throat for swallowing
  • Cause pills to get stuck
  • Cause changes in taste
  • Contribute to increased tooth decay and gum disease
  • Contribute to bad breath, discolored teeth, and tongue stickiness
  • Contribute to increased yeast growth and development of oral thrush

What can you do about it?

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Try taking coated pills, or request medications in liquid form if possible
  • Avoid drinking alcohol and smoking
  • Reduce coffee
  • Avoid using alcohol-based mouthwash
  • Alternate liquids and solids during meals
  • Chew sugarless gum or suck sugar-free hard lollies
  • Try using a humidifier
  • Ask your local pharmacy if they have an artificial saliva substitute

As mentioned earlier, post-radiation effects from head and neck cancer can cause xerostomia. This month’s blog is dedicated to raising awareness around head and neck cancer and dysphagia. 

Found this article helpful?
Share it!

Latest Blog Posts

When the team at Essie Summers Retirement Village started using The Pure Food Co texture-modified foods, they targeted those residents who were underweight and suffering from pressure sores. The improvement was so dramatic (within 30 days, their weight had increased and their sores were healing) that most residents at Essie Summers now consume Pure Food products so they all get to share in the benefits.

Life narrows dramatically for dementia patients as impairments to memory and judgement impact daily functioning. Many hobbies and interests will be cast aside, some friends will be lost. One of the few things that remains constant is eating. That’s why it is so important for dementia patients to derive enjoyment from their meals.

19th May 2020 Food – where to get it, what to cook – has been a huge preoccupation for many in lockdown. With this new

9th April 2020 Aged Plus magazine news article New Zealand food producer The Pure Food Co has introduced discounted food packages for the elderly making