Dry Mouth

Dry Mouth

Everyone’s mouth can feel dry from time to time but this feeling usually passes. However, if the condition remains long-term and becomes a chronic issue, then this can be a concern. This article will discuss some common causes of dry mouth and what can be done for it.

Dry mouth occurs when you are not producing enough saliva (spit) in your mouth to keep it moist. Temporary conditions that can cause this are nervousness when you are upset or stressed out. Strenuous workouts can also cause dry mouth and a little hydration reverses this. But if the condition persists, then this can lead to an uncomfortable situation for the person affected and can lead to other health issues.
The common symptoms of dry mouth include:


Dry, sticky feeling in mouth
Hard time swallowing
Tongue has a burning sensation
Lips become cracked
Altered taste sensation or metal taste
Sores in mouth
Bad breath


There are several reasons a person can develop dry mouth and why your salivary glands produce less saliva:


Medications and side effects – there are several medications that can cause a person’s mouth to become dry. Your prescribing doctor will go over these with you but some common types of medications that cause dry mouth are diuretics, decongestants, high blood pressure meds, painkillers, antihistamines and depression meds.
Radiation – during cancer treatment, the salivary glands in the head and neck can become damaged and therefore produce less saliva or none at all. This can be a temporary condition or a permanent problem.
Diseases – certain diseases can lead to dry mouth by reducing saliva production. These include HIV/AIDS, Diabetes, Parkinson’s Disease, Hodgkin’s Disease and Sjogren’s syndrome.
Menopause – the hormonal change that women go through during menopause can alter the amount of saliva being produced.
Chemotherapy – these drugs can cause the saliva to become thicker thus making the mouth feel dry.
Smoking – the chemicals from smoking can affect the saliva glands and reduce their saliva production.

Dry mouth not only causes an uncomfortable sensation in the mouth but it can also lead to medical problems. Saliva plays an important role in your body which include protecting your teeth from tooth decay, digestion of food, assisting in chewing and swallowing of food, and preventing certain infections of the mouth. Any reduction in salivary flow can lead to increased cavities or infections in the mouth.The best way to treat dry mouth is to eliminate the cause. For example, if medication is the cause, then your physician could change them up to ones that don’t affect saliva. However, if the cause of dry mouth cannot be eliminated then there are ways to help improve moisture in the mouth. These include:


Saliva substitutes – mouth moisturizers that simulate saliva
Mouthwashes – specially formulated mouthrinse to help dry mouth
Sipping water often
Avoid drinks that cause dry mouth such as caffeinated drinks
Chewing on sugarless gum to stimulate salivary flow
Avoid alcohol and tobacco
Using a humidifier at night


As always, if you have any concerns or questions about dry mouth, it is best to sit down with your local dentist and discuss your dental concerns. If you are looking for a dentist Langley Village Dental is here for you!

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