Dry mouth, or Xerostomia, is a condition where the inside of the mouth feels extremely dry; and the severity can range from mild to extreme where it is difficult to speak or even eat. A consultation with your dentist will verify if you are suffering from Xerostomia, try to determine a cause, and offer possible solutions.
An investigation into lifestyle may lead to the causes of dry mouth. Excessive caffeine and alcohol consumption can create the feeling of a dry mouth, but patients suffering from Xerostomia are likely deficient in their ability to create saliva. Saliva is like nature’s mouthwash, and the inability to create the moisture so many take for granted can cause excruciating results.
The interior of the mouth is so dry the tongue can literally stick to teeth. Swallowing is difficult, and the inability to produce saliva can result in sores in the mouth. Saliva aids in washing away bacteria, and bacteria sitting in the mouth can contribute to plaque build-up and dental decay.
There has been extensive research on Xerostomia producing a variety of results. What is known is that certain medications like those treating high blood pressure or depression can lead to dry mouth. There are some studies that suggest a vitamin deficiency is a contributing factor. Dehydration due to illness like a high fever robs the body of fluids as well as certain medical conditions like diabetes.
If medications are the culprit, a change in type or dosage may be recommended, but always on doctor’s orders. Never make adjustments without medical advice.
Other suggestions to alleviate dry mouth include:
Drink plenty of sugar free, decaffeinated beverages … water flavored with a little fruit provides a wonderful alternative to expensive bottled drinks.
Sugarless gum and candies – Chewing gum and sucking on sugar free candies can help saliva glands generate moisture.
There are multiple rinses on the market that are geared to increase saliva production. Your dentist can recommend the one best suited for you.
Visits to your dental provider every six months for a cleaning and exam, coupled with following advice given such as using a fluoride toothpaste or rinse, and brushing and flossing as directed may diminish dry mouth symptoms.
Dry mouth can be uncomfortable and most people will be faced with it at one time or another. But if you have any questions regarding the treatment or causes of dry mouth, or if the symptoms persist, contact our skilled dental team for a diagnosis and your best options for relief.