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 Gregory C. Dilger D.D.S.           General Dentist            1353 Edgewater St.          West Salem          (503) 378-0466   

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Dry Mouth Information

Anyone can have dry mouth when they are nervous, upset or under stress. If you have dry mouth all or most of the time, it can be uncomfortable and can lead to serious health problems. Dry mouth is clinically known as “Xerostomia”.


“What is Dry Mouth?”


Dry mouth happens when there is not enough saliva (spit) to keep your mouth moisturized. This can leave the mouth, digestive system and respiratory system at risk of secondary infection from reduced ability to destroy bacteria in the mouth. Saliva is an important part off the body’s general immune system.


“What are the symptoms of dry mouth?”


  • Difficulty in speaking, swallowing, chewing and tasting
  • A burning feeling in the mouth
  • Cracked lips
  • Frequent thirst
  • A sticky dry feeling in the mouth


“What causes Dry Mouth?”


People can get dry mouth when salivary glands are not working properly. Some causes may include:

  • Medication side effect
  • Cancer treatments
  • Infections
  • Nerve damage
  • Disease
  • Tobacco use
  • Age


“How does Dry Mouth affect my oral health?”


Dry mouth can increase your chance of developing:

  • Dental decay increases
  • Mouth sores develop and are slow to heal
  • Dry, rough tongue
  • Fungal infections
  • Soft tissue inflammation and infection
  • Increased bacterial growth
  • Periodontal disease accelerates


“What can be done about dry mouth?”


Depending on what is causing your dry mouth, treatment will vary. It is important to see your dentist (us) and/or physician for evaluation. If it a side effect of a medication, we will suggest to your physician that an alternative be tried. We may suggest using an over the counter product to lubricate the mouth. These may include Biotene or Oasis brands. It is important to avoid using alcohol based and peroxide based home care products. These tend to dry out the tissues and can exacerbate the dry mouth condition. Your physician can also prescribe saliva replacement medication if needed.



“What can I do to make my mouth more comfortable?”


Suggestions for relief include:

  • Sipping water
  • Chewing sugarless gum (Xylitol sweetened gum is good)
  • Avoid tobacco
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Avoid caffeinated drinks
  • Avoid carbonated beverages
  • Avoid spicy foods  
  • Use a humidifier at night 

by Bernadette, CDA

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Patient Testamonials


Dear Dr. Dilger:


It all started with my initial phone call to Dr. Dilger's office. I felt so comfortable from the start and after I came in for my first visit it's been all about what I want and what Dr. Dilger and his staff recommends for me. All around, it's been the best dental experience I've ever had.


Al P.




Going to the dentist used to be a nightmare experience for me. That's all changed when I came to Dr. Dilger. Dr. Dilger's office staff are so warm and welcoming. Visiting them is like going home. Dr. Dilger's calm and caring manner erased all my dental anxiety and for the first time in my life I found myself relaxed in a dental chair. Dr. Dilger and his staff really took the time to get to know me and my concerns. They talked with me about my fears and helped me address my anxiety. Now I visit the dentist and I'm not afraid. I can not express the difference Dr. Dilger has made in my dental life! Thanks so much Dr. D.


Molly F.




I love my new smile.  It was so easy too.  Nearly pain free.  I am considering my lower teeth at a later date.


Debbie E.