Whats New in The Wellnes Corner
4075 Do-You-Have-A-Dry-Mouth

Do You Have A Dry Mouth?

Do You Have A Dry Mouth?

Dry mouth, also called Xerostomia, is a condition that usually results from decreased production of saliva. At times, Xerostomia can make it difficult to speak and may lead to malnutrition. Extreme dry mouth and salivary gland dysfunction can produce significant and permanent mouth and throat disorders and can impair a person's quality of life. Xerostomia affects about 10% of all people and is more prevalent in women than men.

Disorders of saliva production affect elderly people and those who are taking prescription and nonprescription medications most frequently. There are many causes of dry mouth. Xerostomia most commonly occurs as a side effect of many medications, including blood pressure medications, antihistamines, antidepressants, diuretics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, and many others.

Other causes of dry mouth are radiation treatments to the head and neck, salivary gland diseases, diabetes, hormonal imbalance, and autoimmune disorders such as Sjögren's syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, and systemic lupus erythematosus. Salivary production can be decreased if a major salivary duct becomes blocked.

Other causative factors include stress, anxiety, depression, and dehydration.

Dry mouth has several causes, including:

• Medications

• Cancer therapy

• Aging

• Nerve damage 

• Diabetes

• Parkinson's disease

• HIV/AIDS

• Tobacco use

• Anxiety disorders and depression 

• Snoring and breathing with the mouth open

The symptoms of dry mouth include:

• Cracked lips

• Bad breath

• Sores and sore throat

• Split skin at the corners of your mouth

• Saliva that is thick and stringy 

• Difficulty speaking and swallowing

• Altered sense of taste

• Fungal infection in the mouth

• Increased plaque, gum disease, and tooth decay

Here are a few tips that may help improve your dry mouth symptoms and keep your teeth healthy:

• Avoid acidic and sugary foods as these can increase the risk of tooth decay

• Chew sugar-free gum 

• Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste

• Limit your caffeine intake as it can make your mouth drier

• Breathe through your nose and not through your mouth

• Avoid using a mouthwash that contains alcohol as alcohol can lead to dryness

• Avoid tobacco use if you smoke or chew tobacco

• Sip water throughout the day to moisten your mouth

If you have persistent dry mouth symptoms, contact your doctor!