Why Does Your Mouth Feel Dry And What To Do About It?

Why Does Your Mouth Feel Dry And What To Do About It?

Feb 08, 2023

Your saliva plays a significant role in keeping your teeth and gums healthy. Enough saliva helps wash away acids, food debris, and bacteria from the mouth, reducing your risk of gum disease, fungal infections, bad breath, tooth decay, and other oral problems. Saliva also contains essential minerals that keep your gums and teeth healthy and strong.

Sometimes, for some reason, your mouth may have inadequate saliva, causing a dry mouth. A dry mouth is uncomfortable and can make you vulnerable to oral problems and cause difficulties chewing, speaking, and swallowing.

8 Reasons for dry mouth

A dry mouth can also be referred to as xerostomia. Below are common reasons why you may be experiencing a dry mouth and what to do to get relief:

  • Certain medications

Medications are key causes of a dry mouth. According to the ADA, more than 400 prescriptions and OTC medicines contribute to or worsen dry mouth. Most of these medications (anticholinergics) block a chemical messenger (acetylcholine) that stimulates the secretion of saliva.

These medications are often for:

  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Overactive bladder

Even though these medications cause a dry mouth, you shouldn’t decide to stop them on your own. Talk with your doctor or visit our dental office to determine whether your medication causes your symptoms and whether switching to different medicines is possible.

  • You need to drink more water.

Surprisingly, many people don’t drink enough water. There are simply dehydrated and can experience a dry mouth. Recent reports from the CDC show that an average adult in the U.S. drinks an average of 39 ounces of water daily. While there’s no set quantity that you should aim for, take regular water sips throughout the day. Other healthy fluids can also help keep you hydrated and ensure you get enough saliva.

  • You’re stressed or nervous.

Sometimes we get overwhelmed with deadlines, studies, and achievements we want to accomplish. These emotions can trigger your adrenaline (fight or flight response) that diverts fluids to the sweat glands and other organs, resulting in a dry mouth. Yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises can help calm your emotions and make you calm, preventing a dry mouth.

  • Alcoholic oral products

Anything alcoholic often has a drying effect, inhibiting saliva production and flow in the mouth. If you have a dry mouth problem, it’s best to use alcohol-free oral products. The ADA recommends a fluoride-based mouth rinse to prevent and manage a dry mouth. Fluoride also strengthens your teeth and protects them from cavities.

  • Sjogren’s Syndrome

Sjogren’s syndrome is when the immune system attacks the glands that secrete tears and saliva, which can lead to a dry mouth and eyes. While not common, reports by the Cleveland Clinic show that 1 – 4 million Americans have the condition. This syndrome is also associated with other autoimmune conditions like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Drinking enough water can help manage your symptoms.

  • Cancer treatment

Some medications and radiations used to treat cancer can change the production and thickness of your saliva or damage your salivary glands, causing dry mouth. The severity of your symptoms may vary based on the type and dose of treatment you’re undergoing.

  • Nerve damage

Injuries to the neck or head can cause damage to the nerves that stimulate the salivary glands to secrete saliva, leading to a dry mouth. While rare, some nerves can partially regenerate, causing permanent symptoms.

  • Diet

Have you ever noticed a dry mouth after eating or drinking specific foods and beverages? Spicy, salty, alcoholic, caffeinated, and sugary foods can encourage dehydration, resulting in a dry mouth. Smoking can also cause a dry mouth. Keeping hydrated after consuming these items can help prevent or manage a dry mouth.

How to manage a dry mouth

Below are tips to avoid or manage a dry mouth:

  • Keep hydrated throughout the day.
  • Manage underlying health conditions like diabetes.
  • Consult your doctor or dentist in Rifle about medication for a dry mouth like cevimeline and pilocarpine.

Schedule an Appointment Today

For more information about dry mouth and other general dentistry services, contact Rifle Dental Care to speak with our dentist in Rifle, CO.

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