Low Saliva Production Often Goes Unnoticed and Is Rarely Tested for Says Dental Health Educator Shirley Gutkowski
Dental health educator Shirley Gutkowski would like to dentists to become far more proactive in testing for low saliva production, also called “dry mouth.” According to Gutkowski, dry mouth can be symptomatic of more serious diseases, including Sjogren’s syndrome, and can also cause numerous oral health problems, including an increased risk of tooth decay.
Gutkowsky made her comments during an interview on the Sharon Kleyne Hour Power of Water radio show.
Shirley Gutkowski, RDH and BSDH is a practicing dental hygienist, host of Cross Link Radio and a frequent lecturer, blogger and writer on dental health and prevention.
The globally syndicated Sharon Kleyne Hour Power of Water radio show, with host Sharon Kleyne, is heard on the VoiceAmerica Variety and Health and Wellness Channels, and on Apple iTunes. Kleyne is Founder of Bio-Logic Aqua Research, a research, technology and product development center, and the world’s only company specializing in fresh water, atmosphere and health. Natures Tears EyeMist is the Research Center’s global signature product.
It takes a 70-percent drop in saliva production for most people to even notice that their mouth is too dry, according to Gutkowski. This makes early diction extremely difficult, which is unfortunate because the condition may signal a variety of health issues, all of which are more easily treated when caught early.
The most reliable early detection method, Gutkowski explains, is a saliva test performed by a dentist or dental hygienist. According to Gutkowski, most dentists do not routinely administer this test or ask patients about dry mouth symptoms.
Low saliva production is often the earliest warning sign for several autoimmune diseases, Gutkowski reports. These diseases include Sjograns syndrome, in which the mouth, eyes and joints lose moisture, resulting in severe chronic discomfort. In addition, says Gutkowski, the presence of one autoimmune disease, if not caught early, can lead to several other autoimmune diseases, including lupus and fibromyalgia. Individuals with autoimmune problems often have more than one disease because one triggers another.
There are about 15 common autoimmune diseases. Early detection can make a critical difference in prevention and treatment.
Saliva is a remarkable substance, Gutkowski notes. In addition to water, saliva contains electrolytes, enzymes, proteins and antibodies. Antibodies fight bacteria, which are the cause of tooth decay. When saliva production is compromised, bacteria levels increase and the risk of tooth decay and other mouth disorders greatly increases.
Gutkowski and Kleyne’s suggestions to avoid dry mouth:
Drink at least eight full glasses of pure water per day, in addition to all other fluid intake. Drink the first two glasses upon awakening in the morning. Diet should emphasize fruits and vegetables, minimize processed foods and avoid sugar. Brush teeth and tongue in the morning and brush or floss after eating. And finally, if there is any reason at all to suspect the presence of dry mouth, be sure to inform your dentist.
Gutkowski and Kleyne explain that the body and mouth naturally dehydrate at night, during which bacteria can build up on the tongue. That’s why a morning drink of water, and tongue brushing, are important. Gutkowski notes that not every kind of sugar is bad for teeth but most of them are.