Dry mouth or Xerostomia, as some of them may call it, is not a disease. It is in fact, a symptom of any underlying problems. In patients complaining about dry mouth, the production of saliva decreases, or stops all together.
Saliva plays a great role and has numerous benefits including:
- Saliva moisturizes the food and helps in swallowing and tasting the food
- It neutralizes the acids in the foods, thus protecting the teeth from acid erosion
- It washes away the food particles from the teeth, helping in preventing bacteria formation.
If the production of saliva is less, then your teeth are more at risk of decay, also people with dry mouth often develop illnesses that affects the soft tissue of the mouth, like yeast infections.
What Causes Dry Mouth?
- People suffering from high blood pressure, HIV, cystic fibrosis and diabetes often have dry mouth
- Dehydration is one of the most common reasons of dry mouth. Loss of fluids from the body can cause extreme Xerostomia
- Radiation therapy to treat head and neck cancer can cause dry mouth
- Mostly, dry mouth is the side effect of certain medications taken over a long period of time. Medications like anti-allergies and anti-depressants may cause dry mouth. This is the reason why older people often complain about this issue, because they take a lot of medicines
What are the Common Symptoms of Dry Mouth?
- Frequent thirst
- Tingling sensation in the tongue
- Red and raw tongue
- Difficulty swallowing
- Sore throat
- Problems with tasting food
- Bad breath
- Dry nasal passages
- Dry and cracked skin of the lips
- Repeated yeast infection in the mouth
If you suffer from dry mouth, do not worry; it is a common complain these days. Visit your dentist as soon as you can, and tell them your issues, your diet and about any prescription or non-prescription medications, you are taking. The dentist will then examine your mouth. He will assess the flow of saliva in your mouth and look for any additional problems like any signs of cavities or cracks.
What Treatments Are Available?
The treatment mainly focuses on three areas, namely:
- Relieving the symptoms
- Prevention of tooth decay,
- increasing the flow of saliva
Do not forget to practice good dental hygiene. This includes brushing your teeth and flossing regularly. In order to increase your saliva production, your dentist will prescribe you medicines. In the meantime, follow the steps mentioned below to find relief:
- Drink lots of water
- Chew sugar free gum
- Use saliva substitutes
- Use mouth wash which do not contain alcohol
- Avoid, salty and spicy foods
- Avoid caffeine and chocolates
Call your doctor immediately if:
- You need to sip water to swallow foods
- Tooth decay and cavities occur
With proper treatment and good oral hygiene, most patients find relief from dry mouth and they too can taste and enjoy the food they eat. So, always take good care of your teeth, mouth, and oral hygiene.