What is Dry Mouth?
Dry Mouth (Xerostomia) is the lack of the saliva flow to keep your mouth wet, moisturized and clean.
Saliva has many functions in the mouth, some of them include to prevent infections by controlling the bacteria and fungi in the mouth, to help with the digest of food and to keep the mouth clean and moisturized. The lack of saliva can cause many issues that affect the oral health.
Identifying the Symptoms:
The most common signs that indicate you may have a problem producing saliva are:
- Bad breath
- Complications with eating, swallowing, chewing or speaking
- Feeling thirsty with frequency
- Dry or sticky feeling in the mouth or throat
- Cracked lips
- A burning sensation in the mouth and tongue
- Dry or tough tongue
- Sores inside or at the corners of the mouth
- tooth decay
- Sore throat
- Irritation of the gums
Which are the causes that produce Dry Mouth? :
Dry mouth occurs when the salivary glands that produce the saliva are not producing the enough amount, this can happen due to many causes. Some of this causes are:
- A side effect of diseases and medications: dry mouth can happen as a side effect of some diseases like Sjögren’s syndrome, anemia, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, etc. The ingest of certain medications can also lead to dry mouth as a side effect. Some of the prescription and nonprescription drugs that can cause Xerostomia includes drugs to treat asthma, depression, anxiety, epilepsy, hypertension, acne, allergies, colds, pain, obesity, Parkinson’s disease, etc.
- Smoking or chewing tobacco.
- Breathing with the mouth open
- Nerve damage in the head and neck area
- Damage to the salivary glands as a side effect of some medical treatments like chemotherapy and the radiation to the head and neck area.
Consequences of Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)
The dryness caused by Xerostomia turn cavities and other oral issues into frequent problems, it can also irritate the tissues of the mouth and make them prone to infections. The risk of gum disease, tooth decay, and thrush also raises with the lack of saliva in the mouth. The saliva’s primordial to maintain the mouth clean, in consequence, its lack can lead to many infections and oral health issues.
How to treat Dry Mouth:
The first step for treating the dry mouth is to identify the problem that affects the production of saliva of the salivary glands and its cause with the help of your dentist or physician.
Once identified what’s causing the dry mouth, your dentist or physician will determine the next step to start treating the dry mouth. Depending on the case the professional can recommend the replace of some medicines or to adjust the dosage.
In other cases, your dentist or physician might prescribe you a medicine to boosts the production of saliva or recommend you to use artificial saliva to maintain the mouth wet and away from bacteria and infections.
How to improve the saliva flow:
Some tips that can help you improve the saliva flow are:
- Drink a lot of water
- Avoid breathing through your mouth
- Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste