According to the F.D.A, there are three salivary glands in the mouth tasked with producing saliva. As you might have guessed, when those glands aren't making as much saliva as they should be, the mouth becomes dry. Simple enough, right?
Avoid Irritants? Mostly Check... (No Alcohol or Caffiene. C'mon, that's not bad!)
Blah Blah Sugar-free? um... Nope. Not even close.
Avoid Salty/Spicy Foods? Sometimes...
Use a Humidifier? Never a night without it. I mean never.
With those changes made, I was still experiencing horrible dry mouth at night. Not to mention the fact that I had already killed one humidifier, and the current model is beginning to make a terrible noise (I think it's begging to be put down).
I can't speak for my fellow MMT patients, but in my case, 'dry mouth' is a serious understatement. Generally speaking, Dry Mouth only becomes an issue for me throughout the night. When I am awoken throughout the night by this problem, it isn't because my mouth is a tad dry. It's as though my mouth has never seen a drop of saliva in its life. I'm talking straight up arid desert conditions going on in there. It is not uncommon for me to be woken up throughout the night because entire mouth is so dry, breathing feels unnatural and swallowing is just impossible. Try as I might, producing the saliva necessary to compensate for the massive drought occurring in my mouth is an impossible task. The humidifier is an absolute must, and has never had a night off since it left the box. Rinsing my mouth with cold water is necessary to get relief. Even still, immediately after that drink I can already feel the dryness ready to creep back as soon as the temporary relief of the water slips down my throat. And it always does.
Surprisingly, I found the stuff worked quite well. The first time I used it was sabout mid-day, just to get an idea of the taste and to check it out. Immediately after rinsing with the Biotene, I noticed that my mouth felt much more lubricated and comfortable. Now, I personally use it every night before bed, right after I brush my teeth. I admittedly still always sleep with the humidifier on, and stay away from caffeine and alcohol, but I am no longer awoken throughout the night due to severe dry mouth. Now, am I able generally able to get through the night without discomfort.
While it certainly isn't the perfect fix, it resulted in a major improvement for me. Of course, this is just my personal experience as a Methadone patient who deals with dry mouth as a side effect (Biotene isn't compensating me in any way, shape or form). Overall though, I would recommend it if you are in search of way to combat your own medicine mouth.
Clearly I can't t just stop taking my methadone on a whim, and I am not about to take another prescription medication to fight the side effects of... a medication. Time to start exploring my options.
The F.D.A has a page about Dry Mouth that includes this fancy little graphic along with their recommendations.
The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research explains that saliva not only helps us digest the food we eat, but it also makes it possible for us to chew and swallow it in the first place. That's not all though; saliva also helps protect our teeth from decay, and helps to regulate various bacteria and fungi in our mouths, therefore preventing infection. Told you it's important stuff.
But while finishing up at my most recent dental appointment, the Dentist mentioned there was a product that could help with the dry mouth I was experiencing, and handed me a coupon for $2.00 off a Biotene product. With coupon in hand, I finally started considering this 'Biotene' stuff. Couldn't hurt, right?
There are several different products available, but I decided to go with the 473ml Biotene Moisturizing Mouthwash (Alcohol Free), which was priced at around $11.99CAD. For those interested in exactly what the product looks like, I have included a few photos.