Caregivers and Older Adults with Dry Mouth

Is dry mouth affecting the older adult in your life?
If the answer is yes – here’s what you should know and how you can help

By Cathy Tomlinson Wood, RDH, BS, MAT

Dry mouth is a common condition that occurs when there’s a decrease in saliva production. Almost anyone can experience dry mouth symptoms, but older adults tend to be more susceptible as a result of age and other factors.

One factor is use of over-the-counter and prescription medications. Although it doesn’t apply to everyone, many of our parents, grandparents, or spouses more than likely have been recommended or prescribed medication by a doctor. Dry mouth can be a side effect of certain drugs, such as antihistamines, diuretics, muscle relaxants, pain medication, and more.


Are there other causes of dry mouth?

In short, yes. Another common reason why people get dry mouth is due to dehydration, which happens when the body uses more fluid than it takes in. Diabetes, a disorder that impacts how the body produces or manages insulin (a natural hormone), can also lead to dry mouth. Below are some of the other causes:


What are the symptoms of dry mouth?

Dry mouth affects everyone differently, but there are several signs and symptoms that you can ask your loved one about. They include:


My loved one often experiences oral health problems – is that due to dry mouth?

In many cases, oral health problems can be directly linked to dry mouth. Some of them include tooth decay, plaque buildup, gingivitis (red and puffy gums that bleed easily), and periodontitis (a serious infection of the gums). Your loved one may also complain about a change in how dentures or other oral prostheses fit. All concerns should be discussed with a healthcare professional.


What can my loved one do to find relief?

Fortunately, there are a number of ways to relieve unpleasant dry mouth symptoms. Be sure to tell the person affected in your life about the tips below:


How OraCoat® XyliMelts® can help*

The tips above can provide a great start to finding relief, but sometimes a little extra help is needed. This is where products such as XyliMelts are useful.

XyliMelts are a safe and effective solution for dry mouth, providing long-lasting relief day and night. They are designed with adhering-disc technology that stay in place for hours and help increase moisture in the mouth. There are many benefits to using XyliMelts to fight off dry mouth symptoms:

*Always speak with a physician before starting treatment for dry mouth with OraCoat XyliMelts or any other saliva substitute.
**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.