Dry Mouth

Dry Mouth also technically termed Xerostomia is a medical condition that results from inadequate flow of saliva. Saliva is essential for softening and digesting of food. It also cleanses the mouth and provides first-line protection from microbes by controlling the level of bacteria in the mouth. Without enough saliva you can develop tooth decay or other oral infections.

Causes

Reduced saliva can be due to decrease in secretion of saliva by the salivary glands. This could be due to the following reasons.

  • Medications: Dry mouth could be a side effect of certain medications. The more medications you take the more you are prone to suffer from chronic dry mouth. Anti-histamines, diuretics, anti depressants, anti-hypertensives, some beta blockers and over the counter cold remedies all contribute towards or cause a dry mouth.

  • Diseases: Dry mouth can also be caused as a side effect of certain diseases or medical conditions such as Diabetes, Sjogren’s Syndrome, Alzheimer’s Disease, HIV/AIDS and the like.

  • Medical Treatments: Cancer treatments like radiation or chemotherapy may damage the salivary glands decreasing the flow of saliva or make the saliva thick thus making the mouth dry.

  • Nerve Damage: Damage of the nerves in the head and neck region due to injury or surgery may result in no production of saliva.

  • Dehydration: Certain conditions like vomiting, fever, blood loss, excessive sweating, diarrhea etc may lead to dehydration and in turn dry mouth.

  • Surgical removal of salivary glands

  • Lifestyle: Smoking, chewing tobacco, breathing through mouth all may contribute towards dry mouth.

Symptoms

Some of the common problems associated with dry mouth include

  • Dry and stick feeling in the mouth.

  • Difficulty in chewing, tasting, swallowing or speaking.

  • Burning sensation in the mouth.

  • Cracked lips or sores in the mouth and corners of the mouth.

  • Frequent thirst

  • Dry, red, rough tongue

  • Bad breath

  • Dry nasal passages, hoarseness

Besides causing the above symptoms, dry mouth can lead to gum disease, infections of the mouth, tooth decay or difficulty in wearing dentures.

Treatment

In case you feel you have dry mouth, talk to your doctor about it who would help you diagnose the cause. If the dry mouth is a result of any medication, your doctor can adjust the dose or provide an alternative medicine. They may also prescribe mouth rinses that restore the moisture in the mouth or provide medications to increase salivary flow.

Some home remedies that you can try include

  • Sucking on sugarless candy or chew sugarless gum

  • Drink plenty of water to keep your mouth moist

  • Avoid breathing through mouth

  • Use fluoridated products such as toothpaste, mouth rinses and visit dentist regularly

  • Use room vaporizer to moisturize bedroom air

  • Use over the counter saliva substitute

To know more, fix an appointment with our dentists today.