What is Dry Mouth?
The condition dry mouth is called xerostomia. When your mouth makes little or no saliva, it affects more than just your thirst. Saliva helps you taste and digest what you eat and drink. It flushes food particles from around your teeth and dilutes the acids that cause tooth decay.
Lack of saliva makes the skin in and around your mouth feel dry and tight. Your lips may become cracked and sore. Sores may form on the corners of your mouth. Your tongue may feel rough and dry. It may also be difficult to swallow and talk.
Without saliva to flush your mouth of food particles and debris continually, people with dry mouth often suffer from bad breath. If you wear lipstick, it will often end up stuck to your teeth because there is no moisture present to rinse it off. If you feel hoarse or have a tickle in your throat, dry mouth may be the cause.
How is Dry Mouth caused?
One of the common causes of dry mouth is the medications we take. More than 400 types of medicine can cause dry mouth, including over the counter remedies for allergies and cold symptoms. Prescription drugs for high blood pressure, overactive bladder and mental health problems can also cause it. Radiation can damage saliva glands, and chemotherapy can cause saliva to thicken and make your mouth feel dry.
Nerve damage from a head or neck injury can lead to dry mouth. Some nerves carry messages between the brain and the saliva glands. If these nerves are damaged, they may be unable to tell the salivary glands to make saliva.
Dry mouth may be the result of a medical condition called sjogren’s syndrome. This is an autoimmune disorder in which white blood cells attack the body’s tear and salivary glands. People with diabetes or hiv can also experience dry mouth.
Smoking can worsen dry mouth. There are plenty of reasons to avoid or quit smoking, and having dry mouth is one of them. Smoking doesn’t cause dry mouth. However, smoking cigarettes or cigars, or using pipes and other tobacco products, even smokeless ones, can aggravate it.
Effects of Dry Mouth
A lack of saliva can be very harmful to your teeth. Regular dental checkups and meticulous home care are essential if you have dry mouth. Brush and floss daily. If you can’t brush or floss after eating, rinse. Sip water frequently throughout the day and use an alcohol free low acid mouth rinse daily.
Dry Mouth Remedies
A doctor can help, if you are suffering from dry mouth. Talk to your md or dentist. If there is not an obvious cause such as medications you are taking or treatments you are receiving, the symptoms may point to and undiagnosed medical condition.
The following tips may help:
Check with your doctor to see if there is medicine to help
Use sugar free candy and chewing gum
Use over the counter products such as biotene.
Sip water frequently
Avoid sugary, acidic and caffeinated drinks.