08 Jan Look Carefully at Dry Mouth: Causes and Treatment
Everyone experiences a dry mouth occasionally … nerves before a big presentation, thirst due to exercise, medications that dry your mouth and nasal passages, or illness with a fever can all result in an uncomfortably dry mouth. But when this condition becomes chronic, you can get relief with a visit to your dentist.
When you can’t produce sufficient saliva, you could be suffering from xerostomia. The reasons vary from patient to patient, so the solutions can vary as well.
Illness – Life altering illnesses like diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or depression affect your body with one side effect in common … the potential for a dry mouth. It is often not the disease as much as the medication you take to control symptoms that produce the uncomfortably dry mouth.
Medications – Decongestants or antihistamines are used to help control a runny nose or allergies. Unfortunately with dry nasal passages a dry mouth usually follows.
Saliva glands – Cancer treatments or the need to have salivary glands removed to treat a serious illness can result in the inability to produce saliva.
Dehydration – Exercise, working or playing in a hot climate, or spiking a fever can dry the mouth and body.
Tobacco use – In addition to all the other negative things we hear about smoking, a dry mouth can be another side effect of tobacco use.
A dry mouth can be uncomfortable, but when this condition is more than just a temporary nuisance, you can experience problems like mouth sores, cracked and bleeding lips, sore throat and hoarseness, and have difficulty chewing or swallowing.
Your dental health can be at risk as well. The chances of developing gum disease and dental decay are increased when the body does not produce sufficient saliva to keep the mouth properly flushed to remove bacteria on an on-going basis.
Some temporary, common sense solutions are to make sure you are drinking enough water (caffeinated drinks will exasperate the problem so they should be avoided or limited); suck on or chew sugar free gum/candy; or use a saliva substitute recommended by your dental provider.
Our team at Friendly Dental Care can provide the information to ease your symptoms and bring relief. An adjustment to current medications might be a solution. Keeping teeth brushed with a fluoridated tooth paste is recommended along with using an oral rinse. For more information, call 740-687-6105 and schedule your visit today.