Dry Mouth can be caused by a natural inability of your glands to produce sufficient saliva, medication, aging issues, or a result of radiation therapy. It is a condition in which someone’s salivary glands produce insufficient saliva to keep their mouth wet.
Saliva is important because it naturally prevents tooth decay by neutralizing acids, limiting bacterial growth, and washing away food particles throughout the day. It also makes food consumption easier as enzymes in the saliva aid in the breakdown of food. While dry mouth is an inconvenience, it can also have a notable impact on your general and oral health.
Common symptoms include:
– Dryness or sticky mouth feel
– Bad breath
– Dry or grooved tongue
– Difficulty chewing, speaking, and swallowing
– Increased plaque
– Mouth sores
– Tooth decay
– Gum disease
– Sores or split skin around the mouth
Dry mouth habits:
– Consumption of caffeine and alcohol
– The use of tobacco, antihistamines, and decongestants
– Consumption of sugary, acidic, spicy or salty foods
Some suggestions to alleviate symptoms may include a fluoride tray or rinse to prevent cavities. There are also prescription or over-the-counter artificial saliva or moisturizers to lubricate your mouth. These can be effective means of alleviating discomfort in addition to suggestions made by your physician.
– Sip water or chew ice chips during the day and during meals
– Chew sugar-free gum
– Over-the-counter saliva substitutes
– Breathe through your nose
– Utilize a humidifier
Due to the variety of causes for dry mouth, it’s important to discuss any concerns you may have with your doctor. Your dentist however may be a good resource for suggestions about protecting your teeth.
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