Understanding Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)

Everyone needs saliva to keep moisture and cleanse our mouths, and to digest food. Saliva also helps prevents infection by managing bacteria and fungi within the mouth.

When you are not generating enough saliva, your mouth becomes dry and uncomfortable. Fortunately, there are many treatments can assist against dry mouth, also referred to as xerostomia.

What Creates Dry Mouth?
Causes of dry mouth include:

  • Side effect of particular medications . Dry mouth is a prevalent side effect of various prescription drugs and nonprescription drugs, including drugs used to treat depression,allergies, pain, anxiety, and colds (antihistamines and decongestants), obesity, acne, epilepsy, hypertension (diuretics), psychotic disorders,diarrhea, nausea, asthma (certain bronchodilators), urinary incontinence, and Parkinson’s disease. Dry mouth is often a side effect of sedatives and muscle relaxant.
    A side effect of certain infections and diseases. Dry mouth can be a side influence of medical conditions, including Sjögren’s syndrome, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, anemia, rheumatoid arthritis, cystic fibrosis, hypertension, mumps, Parkinson’s disease, and strokes.
    A side effect of particular medical treatments. Impairment to the salivary glands, the glands that cause saliva, can decrease the amount of saliva generated. For example, the damage could arise from radiation to the neck and head, and chemotherapy treatments, for cancer.
    Nerve damage. Dry mouth can be an outcome of nerve damage to the head and neck area from an injury or surgery.
    Dehydration. Conditions that influence dehydration, such as fever, excessive sweating, vomiting, diarrhea, blood loss, and burns can cause dry mouth.
    Surgical removal of the salivary glands.

Lifestyle. Chewing tobacco and smoking can impact how much saliva you produce and aggravate dry mouth. Breathing with your mouth open, allowing air to dry out your mouth, can also add to the problem.

What Are the Symptoms of Dry Mouth?

Well-known symptoms include:

  • A sticky and gluey, dry feeling in the mouth
  • Constant thirst
  • Sores in the mouth; split skin or sores at the corners of the mouth; cracked lips
  • A dull feeling in the throat
  • A scorching or tingling sensation in the mouth and especially on the tongue
  • Difficulty speaking or trouble tasting, chewing and swallowing
  • A dry, red, raw tongue
  • Hoarseness,sore throat and dry nasal passages,
  • Bad breath

Why Is Dry Mouth a Problem?
Besides causing these discomforting symptoms stated above, dry mouth also increases your risk of tooth decay, gingivitis (gum disease), and mouth infections, such as thrush.

What is Sjogren’s Syndrome? Dry Eyes

Dry mouth can also make it difficult to wear dentures.

How To Treat a Dry Mouth
If you think your dry mouth is produced by a specific medication you’re using, speak with your doctor. The doctor may change the dose you’re taking or switch you to a different drug that doesn’t induce dry mouth.

The physician can also recommend an oral rinse to replenish mouth moisture. If that does not help, he or she may designate a medication that promotes saliva production called Salagen.

You can also try these other actions, which may help enhance saliva flow:

  • Avoid acidic or sugar based foods or and drinks because they advance your risk of tooth decay.
  • Chew sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free candy.
  • Drink lots of water to help maintain moisture in your mouth.humidh with fluoride toothpaste, use a fluoride rinse, and visit your dentist regularly.
  • Breathe in and out air through your nose, not your mouth, as often as possible.
  • Add moisture to the bedroom by using a room vaporizer
  • Use an over-the-counter artificial saliva substitute.
  • Saliva substitutes available over the counter — look for products carrying xylitol, such as Oasis Moisturizing Mouth Spray or Mouth Kote or others with hydroxyethyl cellulose (hi-drok-see-ETH-ul SEL-u-luh)) or carboxymethylcellulose (kahr-bok-see-meth-ul-SEL-u-lohs), such as Biotene Oral Balance.
  • Go see your dentist at least twice yearly to identify and tackle tooth decay or other dental problems before they become significant mouth conditions