Everything You Need to Know About Dry Mouth
A dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, is a condition that occurs when the mouth produces less saliva than your body needs. Here is everything you need to know about dry mouth.
Saliva helps keep your teeth and gums healthy by preventing cavities and plaque from forming, as well as making it easier to chew and break down food. If you don’t have enough saliva, dryness can cause pain, tooth decay, or bad breath.
- Dry, hard patches on the gums or tongue called fissured tongue
- A dry throat that doesn’t feel refreshed by drinking water
- An uncomfortable feeling that you can’t completely swallow or produce enough saliva to keep your mouth moist
- A dry, sticky feeling inside your mouth
- Dry eyes
- Chest infections
- Trouble speaking, swallowing, or tasting
- Burning sensation in the mouth
Some common causes of dry mouth include:
- Dry climates
- Certain medications such as antihistamines, antidepressants, diuretics, and blood pressure medications
- Sjögren’s syndrome
- Smoking or chewing tobacco
- Salivary gland problems or infections
- Viral infections such as the flu and HIV/AIDS
- Radiotherapy to the head and neck area during treatment of cancer
Treatment of Dry Mouth
A dry mouth can be treated depending on its root cause. If it is dry climates, certain medications, or aging, the easiest treatment is to move to a more humid environment, stop taking any dry mouth-causing medicines and supplements, and drink plenty of water.
If dry mouth’s root cause is salivary gland problems or infections, your healthcare provider may prescribe different medicines or antibiotics. In rare cases, dry mouth may be caused by radiotherapy during cancer treatment, but in this case, it is usually temporary and will go away once the treatment is over.
Prevention of Dry Mouth
The most important measure in preventing dry mouth is staying hydrated. Make sure you drink lots of water throughout the day, not just when you feel thirsty.
Try a homemade mouthwash recipe that can help your dry mouth: mix 1/2 cup of warm water with 1 teaspoon of salt, and swish it around in your mouth for a minute or two. Spit it out and rinse your mouth with cold water. Repeat as necessary.
Another way to prevent dry mouth is to chew sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free candy to increase saliva production. If dry mouth is caused by dry climates, certain medications, or aging, you can use a humidifier in your home to put more moisture into the air.
If the condition’s root cause is salivary gland problems or infections, check with your healthcare provider before using a humidifier.
If it’s radiotherapy during treatment for cancer, consult your healthcare provider to see if any of the dry mouth treatments listed above will work.
A dry mouth can be uncomfortable and lead to health problems if not treated. Everything you need to know about dry mouth, South Holston knows. Prevention is the best course of action, so make sure you drink plenty of water and stay hydrated. If dry mouth persists despite preventive measures, consult your dentist at South Holston Dental Designs. We will be happy to help you find a solution. Visit our website to learn more or contact us.