If you’ve ever had the feeling that your mouth is incredibly dry, you may have experienced xerostomia, or “dry mouth”. But what causes this unpleasant issue? Here’s an overview of dry mouth, including its symptoms, causes, and possible treatments.
What Is Dry Mouth?
Dry mouth is a condition that occurs when your mouth’s salivary glands don’t make enough saliva to keep your mouth moist. While it’s uncomfortable, the real concern with dry mouth is that it can lead to oral health issues like gum disease and tooth decay if it’s not treated. Saliva is necessary in preventing tooth decay because it neutralizes acids in your mouth and washes away food particles.
Symptoms of Dry Mouth
Symptoms of dry mouth include:
- Bad breath
- Thick or stringy saliva
- Difficulty chewing, speaking, or swallowing
- An altered sense of taste
- Dry tongue and throat
- Of course, a general feeling of extreme dryness in your mouth
Causes of Dry Mouth
There are a number of things that can cause dry mouth:
- Dry mouth is commonly a side effect of medication. Drugs used to treat depression, high blood pressure, and anxiety, as well as some decongestants, muscle relaxants, antihistamines, and pain medications, often cause dry mouth.
- Advancing age is another common cause because as we age, we often take more medications, have inadequate nutrition, and suffer from long-term health issues, such as Alzheimer’s disease, AIDS, diabetes, and cancer. Chemotherapy drugs can change the nature of saliva and the amount that’s produced.
- Recreational drugs, tobacco, and alcohol can also cause dry mouth by reducing the amount of saliva that’s produced.
Treatments for Dry Mouth
Your doctor may decide to take you off certain medications if your dry mouth persists. There are also a number of products that can help. Moisturizing mouth sprays can help lubricate your mouth, and specially formulated mouthwashes can alleviate dry mouth as well as help prevent tooth decay.
We Will Help You Find a Solution for Your Dry Mouth!
Another way to combat dry mouth is by practicing good oral hygiene every day and coming in for biannual cleanings and checkups. We are here to help you find a cure for your chronic mouth dryness. Call us today if you have additional questions about dry mouth or to make an appointment!Contact Us