If you have dry mouth syndrome, your lack of saliva may be putting your oral health at risk. In some cases, you may be able to protect your teeth against the effects of a dry mouth by making sure you get enough fluoride. How can fluoride help and how should you take it?
How Dry Mouth Affects Your Teeth
If you have dry mouth syndrome, your mouth isn't producing as much saliva as it should. Your mouth uses saliva to keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy. For example, saliva neutralises acids, washes food debris out of your mouth and also helps remineralise your teeth to keep them strong; if you don't have enough saliva to do these jobs, you may be at a higher risk of developing dental problems like tooth decay or gum disease.
How Can Fluoride Help?
Fluoride has its own properties that help strengthen teeth and prevent decay. As well as restoring some of the oral health benefits you've lost through a lack of saliva, brushing your teeth with a fluoridated toothpaste and using a fluoride mouthwash may stimulate your salivary glands and get them working more effectively, at least for a while after brushing or rinsing.
How Do You Get More Fluoride?
Some people with dry mouth syndrome don't need extra fluoride. In some cases, if you drink fluoridated tap water and use a fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash, you may be doing enough to balance things out.
In some cases, however, some people are advised to up their fluoride intake, especially if they are experiencing tooth or gum problems that are caused by dry mouth syndrome. Typically, your dentist can identify these issues and recommend ways to boost your fluoride intake. For example, your dentist may apply fluoride gels or varnishes during a check-up or may ask you to use fluoride trays for a few minutes each day. In some cases, you may be advised to apply fluoride gels or mousses at home.
Bear in mind that you shouldn't make the decision to increase your fluoridation levels without consulting your dentist. While using a fluoride toothpaste is generally recommended for everyone, fluoride supplements should only be taken if advised by a trained professional. If your dentist doesn't feel that you are at the stage where extra fluoride would be useful, they may be able to help you find alternative ways to prevent your dry mouth problems from affecting your oral health, such as saliva substitutes.