What Is Dry Mouth? An Inside Look Into the Causes and Treatment

What Is Dry Mouth? An Inside Look Into the Causes and Treatment

Oct 01, 2020

Do you have a dry, cottony-feeling mouth? You are not alone. Many people suffer from this condition. However, with proper therapy, your mouth will be back to normal.

Saliva is essential since it helps moisten and cleanse your mouth. It also aids in digesting food, especially carbohydrates. Saliva plays a vital role in keeping bacteria and infection at bay.

However, when your salivary glands don’t produce as much saliva as they should, you might have an uncomfortably dry mouth. You should visit our Rifle dentist if you think you have a dry mouth to avoid the complications that can arise if left untreated.

What Is Dry Mouth?

Xerostomia or dry mouth typically refers to a condition that causes the salivary glands to underproduce saliva essential in keeping your mouth moist. Most of the time, dry mouth is usually a side effect of certain medications or old age. It is highly unlikely for dry mouth to be caused by a condition that directly affects your salivary glands.

Saliva helps prevent tooth decay since it neutralizes the acids produced by bacteria as they are digesting sugar from your food. It also makes you taste better and enables you to chew and swallow. There are digestive enzymes that are present in saliva that help break down food.

Decreased saliva production will not only irritate you but can have a significant impact on your general health. It can also affect the health of your teeth and gums since you will be at risk of getting gum disease and mouth infections like oral thrush.

If you wear dentures, having xerostomia can make the experience quite uncomfortable.

What Are the Causes?

Your glands can fail to produce enough saliva because of any of the following reasons:

  • Aging

It is quite common for people to experience dry mouth as they age. This can happen as a result of inadequate nutrition or long-term health problems.

  • Medications

This is one of the most common causes of dry mouth. Hundreds of medication, including those you buy at your local drug store, can cause dry mouth. The drugs that cause dry mouth may include the ones that treat high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, some antihistamines, muscle relaxants, or pain medications.

  • Nerve Damage

Trauma or surgery that causes nerve damage to your neck area and head can lead to dry mouth.

  • Cancer Treatment

Chemotherapy drugs are known to alter the nature and the amount of saliva produced. However, the effects are temporary. Radiation to the head and neck area can cause temporary or permanent damage to the glands.

  • Recreational Drug Use

Drugs such as marijuana and methamphetamine can cause severe dry mouth. Also, alcohol and tobacco use can increase dry mouth symptoms.

  • Dehydration

If you are dehydrated, you can experience dry mouth. Dehydration can be caused by excessive sweating, fever, vomiting, blood loss, burns, and diarrhea.

What Are the Symptoms of Dry Mouth?

If you have dry mouth, you might experience the following symptoms:

  • Bad breath
  • Mouth sores
  • Problem speaking
  • Sticky and stringy saliva
  • Sore throat
  • Lipstick sticking to teeth
  • Difficulty speaking, chewing and swallowing
  • Stickiness in your mouth
  • Dry lips
  • Dry or grooved tongue
  • A changed sense of taste

How Is Dry Mouth Treated?

Dry mouth treatment depends on the cause of the condition. If the underlying cause is found, then it is easier to treat the disease. Here are remedies for dry mouth:

Changing medication. If the cause of dry mouth is due to certain medications, then altering the dosage or getting another drug, which does not cause dry mouth, is the best cause of action.
Medication. You may be given medication that aids in the production of saliva.

You can also try certain remedies that can help with dry mouth, such as:

  • Drinking plenty of water to keep your mouth moist
  • Breathing through your nose and not your mouth
  • You can add moisture in the bedroom using a room vaporizer
  • Using fluoride toothpaste and a fluoride rinse to protect your teeth from decay
  • Don’t wear dentures during sleep
  • Eating foods such as celery or carrots
  • Chewing gum that has xylitol
  • Avoiding mouthwashes that have alcohol
  • Cutting back on acidic foods, sugary foods, and spicy foods
  • Stop smoking and chewing tobacco

Dry mouth has many causes, and with the help of our dentist, you can manage the condition. You can call our dentist at Rifle Dental Care so that you can find the appropriate solution for the condition.

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