What Is Xerostomia (Dry Mouth)
Just like the name indicates, dry mouth occurs when there is not enough saliva production in our mouth to keep everything hydrated. It’s very common among all dental patients and can occur in a number of situations, including times of stress or fear.
However, if you experience dry mouth on a regular basis, that could be an indicator that something else might be going on. Saliva does more than keep our mouths wet, it also aids in digestion, helps wash away food particles, and enables us to swallow.
What Causes Dry Mouth?
There are a number of causes of Xerostomia, including:
Medications: Hundreds of medications leads to dry mouth like pain killers, antihistamines, decongestants, and blood thinners for high blood pressure.
Cancer Treatment Therapies: Cancer treatment like radiation therapy for tumors in the head or neck can damage the salivary glands. The damage may only last temporarily, or could end up being permanent. Chemotherapy may cause the saliva to thicken resulting in a feeling of dry mouth.
Nerve Damage: Traumatic injury to or surgery on the neck and head could lead to nerve damage of the salivary glands, affecting their production.
Disease: Chronic autoimmune disorders like HIV/AIDS, Sjögren’s Syndrome, and rheumatoid arthritis can all lead to Xerostomia. It is also a common side effect of other health conditions, including Alzheimer’s Disease and diabetes.
Snoring: Since snoring generally means that your mouth is open during the night, then it’s likely that it will also result in dry mouth.
Smoking and Alcohol Use: Drinking alcohol and smoking in heavy quantities are very drying to the mouth.
What are the Symptoms of Xerostomia?
With no or little saliva production, dental patients are at higher risk of problems like tooth loss and gum disease. This is why it is important to talk to your dentist if you notice any of the following signs:
- Gummy, dry feeling in your mouth
- Trouble swallowing
- Cracked lips
- Mouth sores
- Bad breath
- Decreased appetite
- Unpleasant taste in the mouth
- Hoarse voice
How To Get Rid Of Dry Mouth?
If medication is the culprit, then he will likely suggest that you talk to your doctor about switching medications or changing the dosage. If the cause is due to a malfunction of the salivary glands, then there are a number of remedies that can help stimulate saliva production:
- Drinking plenty of water
- Avoiding dehydrating drinks, such as alcohol, sodas, and coffee
- Chewing on sugarless gum
- Cutting out tobacco use
- Using a humidifier at night
- Avoiding salty or spicy foods
- Practicing good oral health by brushing and flossing daily
If you have been experiencing any of the symptoms listed in this article, call the friendly staff at Monroe Family Dentistry at 704.776.4278 to visit your Dr. Mjahed today. We proudly serve the Monroe, NC community.
Come See Us At Our Dental Practice in Monroe, NC
Monroe Family Dentistry is there for you and your children from day one and we are happy to work with you and your child to start habits from birth. If you live near Monroe, NC call us to schedule an appointment today at 704.776.4278.