Although it may not sound serious, those who suffer from xerostomia (dry mouth) experience significant issues. Many report having a parched, uncomfortable feeling in their mouth, but dry mouth can also lead to difficulty swallowing, talking, and bacterial or fungal infections. Insufficient saliva can cause multiple dental issues. Here are some causes of dry mouth, as well as tips on how to spot it, and treatment options for this common problem.
Causes of Dry Mouth
Many medications list dry mouth as one of the most common side effects. These medications include both prescription and over-the-counter painkillers, antibiotics, antidepressants, antihistamines, diuretics, asthma inhalers, sedatives and more. The more medications that are taken, the worse the dry mouth effect.
2. Health Conditions.
Dry mouth can arise due to a variety of health conditions including diabetes, hypertension, cancer, obesity, pulmonary disease, depression or anxiety, fibromyalgia, arthritis, post-traumatic stress and more.
3. Damage to the Salivary Gland.
Saliva production can be reduced due to an injury of the salivary glands from chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, or head and neck trauma.
4. Life Stage or Lifestyle.
Dry mouth can be attributed to everyday habits such as smoking or sleeping with your mouth open; health circumstances such as illness, diarrhea, excessive sweating, and other causes of dehydration; oras a part of natural health developments such as aging, pregnancy or menopause.
Symptoms of Dry Mouth
The condition varies widely among the population, but there are warning signs that everyone should look for. Talk to your dentist if you have experienced any of the following:
- A continually parched or thirsty feeling that remains constant even after drinking water
- Cavities, gingivitis, or bad breath despite regular brushing and flossing
- Problems swallowing or speaking
- Mouth pain, soreness and/or hoarseness
- Pebbled appearances on the tongue, which may also be overly red or shiny
- Mouth stickiness, with food particles often found in your teeth
- Cracked lips or blisters, despite being well-hydrated
- A perceptible change in taste, or newfound difficulty eating spicy or dry foods
- Noticeable lack of saliva pooling underneath your tongue
Treatment for Dry Mouth
There are multiple causes and varying symptoms of this condition, so you should talk to your dentist about how to help relieve and manage dry mouth.
You can also try modifying your daily routines to help ease the discomfort of dry mouth:
- Try breathing through your nose as much as possible with your mouth closed.
- Try sugar-free lozenges or candies to combat extreme dryness
- Stay hydrated by drinking water frequently to replenish moisture in your mouth
- Use fluoride-fortified toothpaste and mouthwash to protect your teeth
- Consider using a humidifier at night if you breathe through your mouth while sleeping
“Dry mouth is one of the most frustrating conditions we deal with in the dental office. There are no magical cures for dry mouth, and it is extremely uncomfortable. Unfortunately, dry mouth leads to a sharp increase in tooth decay and gum disease,” said Dr. Jenkins, the newest member to the Dental Design Studio team in Norman. “Patients who have not had dental issues in the past may start to experience cavities and periodontal problems quickly once dry mouth sets in.”
Depending on the underlying cause, dry mouth can be a temporary or long-term issue. But no matter how long you’ve been dealing with this issue, protect yourself against tooth decay and other costly oral health problems by talking to your dentist about treatment of dry mouth.
Call Dental Design Studio today at 405-321-6166 to schedule a consultation if you are experiencing any symptoms of dry mouth. Let us help you keep healthy smiles for life!