Saliva is required to cleanse our mouth and moisten the mouth for easy digestion. It also has antibacterial and antifungal properties that prevent the mouth from infections. When the mouth doesn’t produce enough saliva, mouth gets uncomfortable, parched and dry. This condition is commonly referred to as “Dry mouth.”
What is dry mouth?
Dry mouth also called as Xerostomia is a condition that is characterised by a decrease in saliva. Dry mouth makes it difficult to eat, digest food and even speak which in turn leads to severe malnutrition. Dry mouth in extreme cases leads to salivary gland dysfunction causing throat disorders and anxiety. Dry mouth tends to affect about 10% of the population mainly prevailing in women than men. Dry mouth in larger cases affects the person’s quality of life.
What causes dry mouth?
Are you wondering why my mouth is so dry? Based on lifestyle, medications and certain infections, dry mouth can be caused due to several factors. Some of them are
2} Prescription and non-prescription drugs: Prescription and non-prescription drugs to treat allergies, pain, anxiety, depression, common flu, nausea, acne, urinary incontinence, and asthma often result in dry mouth.
3} Medical treatments: Damage to salivary gland due to radiation therapy and chemotherapy can cause dry mouth.
4} Dehydration: Excessive sweating, fever, blood loss, water loss, and vomiting can result in dry mouth.
5} Nerve damage: Dry mouth can be caused due to nerve damage which happens due to injury or surgery.
6} Lifestyle habits: Lifestyle habits such chewing tobacco, excess smoking, and drinking can affect saliva production in the mouth leading to dry mouth. Sometimes breathing using the mouth often may result in moisture loss and cause dry mouth.
7} Aging: Age is a major factor that causes dry mouth. As we age, our salivary glands become dysfunctional leading to less production of saliva.
Symptoms of Dry Mouth
Before trying to figure out how to get rid of dry mouth, it is important to identify dry mouth symptoms. Some of following signs and symptoms are:
- Frequently thirsty
- Sticky dry feeling in the mouth and throat
- Soreness in the mouth
- Cracked lips
- Problems chewing, eating and swallowing
- Difficulty in speaking
- Bad breath
- Dry nasal passages
- Reduced sense of taste
- Mouth sores and ulcers
- Dizziness and headaches
Treatment for Dry Mouth
Those seeking for dry mouth treatment will want a remedy that provides quick and permanent relief. When the doctor diagnoses dry mouth for the first time, he will prescribe you with certain over the counter saliva substitutes and oral lubricants that contain glycerin. These will lubricate the mouth and provide moisture that is essential for speaking and eating. Additionally, he will also suggest saliva stimulant medications such as cevimeline and pilocarpine to increase saliva production. Those suffering from asthma and glaucoma are advised to avoid these drugs.
Home Remedies for Dry Mouth
In additional to drugs prescribed by the doctor, there are several home remedies for dry mouth one can follow to ease the condition. Some of these simple remedies are:
- Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration and keep the mouth moist.
- Use a fluoride toothpaste and fluoride mouthwash for rinse every time.
- Avoid breathing through the mouth or keeping it open for too long.
- Suck on sugar-free gum or candy
- Use a humidifier to create moisture in your bedroom.
- Moisturize the lips with Vaseline or lip balm.
As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. A clean dental hygiene goes a long way in preventing dry mouth. Try to avoid dental infection like cavities, caries, plaques, fungal infections, and periodontal diseases, as these can be factors that can cause dry mouth. Also, eat a well-balanced, healthy diet to maintain good oral health. Last but not the least, visit your dentist for frequent check-ups and analysis.