Some people have a problem known as xerostomia, also known as dry mouth were the mouth produces less quantity of saliva that is needed and this makes the mouth dry. Saliva is very important as it makes it easy to talk. Saliva coats and lubricates tissues in the mouth. It helps cleanse the mouth and begins the digestive process as we chew. When the saliva glands do not produce enough saliva, the mouth becomes dry. In addition to the annoying feeling of a dry mouth, this condition can create other problems. The ADA details how dryness irritates tissues in the mouth and promotes the growth of bacteria. As a result, dry mouth can lead to increased tooth decay and gum disease, inflammation that can cause infection and bad breath.
Artificial saliva spray
The cure to xerostomia is artificial saliva. Artificial saliva is a product that is used by people who have too little of their own naturally occurring saliva (a condition known as dry mouth). Products are available in an aerosol or a liquid that is squirted into the mouth.
Saliva substitute is available as a spray, a solution that you swab or swish in the mouth, a gel and in lozenges, according to PubMed Health. You don’t need a prescription for most artificial saliva products (though some are available only by prescription), but sometimes they are hard to find on store shelves, so ask your pharmacist.
You may need to try a few different products to find the one that works best for you. Use artificial saliva as often as needed or per the direction of your doctor, but make sure not to eat or drink for at least 15 minutes after use.
Although more than 99 percent of saliva is water, saliva also contains buffering agents, enzymes and minerals that keep teeth strong and play a crucial role in maintaining a healthy environment in the mouth. Artificial salivas normally contain a mixture of buffering agents, cellulose derivatives (to increase stickiness and moistening ability) and flavoring agents (such as sorbitol). However, they do not contain the digestive and antibacterial enzymes and other proteins or minerals present in real saliva. Research is underway to try and develop artificial salivas that more closely mimic natural saliva.
It can be used as often as needed. Saliva substitutes are quickly swallowed and, therefore, the moistening and lubricating action has limited duration and repeat applications may be needed. Although saliva substitutes will not cure dry mouth, they can provide temporary relief of some symptoms.
Before using artificial saliva spray:
Some medical conditions may interact with artificial saliva spray. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:
- if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
- if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
- if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
How to use artificial saliva spray:
Use artificial saliva spray as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.
Spray 1 or 2 times into the mouth whenever it feels uncomfortably dry.
If you miss taking a dose of artificial saliva spray for 1 or more days, there is no cause for concern. If your doctor recommended that you take it, try to remember your dose every day.
Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use artificial saliva spray.