Dry mouth, sometimes called xerostomia, occurs when there is a significant reduction in saliva production. Saliva is essential for good dental hygiene because it helps neutralize acids created by bacteria, washes away food particles, and aids digestion.
Symptoms of Dry Mouth
The severity of symptoms might vary, and they can include:
- A dry or sticky sensation in the mouth
- Having trouble swallowing, chewing, or speaking
- Experiencing a burning or tingling feeling in the mouth or on the tongue
- Chapped or cracked lips
- Bad breath
- Changes in taste or a metallic sensation in the mouth
- Increased thirst
- Sore throat
- Difficulty speaking or hoarseness
- Infections or sores in the mouth
It’s crucial to maintain basic oral hygiene and visit the dentist frequently if you experience this condition because it can also raise the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
Moreover, discussing the underlying reason and potential treatments with your doctor or dentist if you experience persistent dry mouth is also a good idea.
What Are the Most Common Reasons for Dry Mouth?
A common negative side effect of several prescription and over-the-counter medications is dry mouth. Additionally, medications for high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, and allergies are included in this category.
Drinking insufficient amounts of water or other fluids can result in dehydration. In addition, this can cause dry mouth.
Dry mouth can be a symptom of several conditions. Moreover, these include Sjogren’s syndrome, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and HIV/AIDS.
Head and neck radiation therapy might harm the salivary glands. Moreover, they can lessen saliva production.
This condition can also result from damage to the nerves that control the salivary glands.
Breathing through the mouth rather than the nose might result in this condition, especially while sleeping.
Smoking reduces saliva production and irritates the mouth and throat which also causes dry mouth.
Our salivary glands generate less saliva as we age, resulting in a dry mouth.
In order to choose the best course of action, it’s critical to determine the underlying reason. Additionally, this can sometimes be relieved with minor adjustments to one’s routine, such as increasing one’s water intake or using a humidifier. However, in some instances, medications or other medical treatments may be necessary.
How Can Dry Mouth Be Treated?
Depending on the underlying reason, different treatments are available. However, the following are some common treatments that may be beneficial:
In order to reduce its symptoms, it is recommended to drink plenty of water, chew sugar-free gum or candy, avoid consuming alcohol or caffeine, and stop smoking.
If a medication is causing this condition, your doctor can change the dosage or switch you to another medication that doesn’t have dry mouth as a side effect.
Several over-the-counter saliva substitutes may be helpful to hydrate the mouth and relieve the signs and symptoms. Additionally, sprays, gels, lozenges, and mouthwashes are among the examples.
Medications to Increase Saliva Production
Prescription medications such as pilocarpine and cevimeline can stimulate the salivary glands to create more saliva.
Treatment of Underlying Medical Conditions
If a medical condition is the cause, addressing the underlying condition may help alleviate the symptoms.
Practicing good oral hygiene, such as using fluoride toothpaste twice daily and daily flossing, can help prevent gum disease and tooth decay, both of which can be made worse by this condition.
If you have recurrent symptoms, it’s crucial to consult your doctor or dentist. Moreover, they can offer recommendations for effective treatments and assist in identifying the underlying reason.
How Can You Treat Dry Mouth at Home?
- Drink plenty of water and other liquids.
- Abstain from alcohol and caffeine.
- Use a humidifier at night.
- Chew sugar-free gum.
- Suck on sugar-free candies.
- Give up tobacco and smoking.
- Practice good oral hygiene.
- Talk to your doctor about medications that might cause this condition.
- Treat any underlying medical conditions.