Dry mouth refers to a condition in which the salivary glands in the mouth do not produce enough saliva to keep the mouth moist. Dry mouth is often due to the side effect of certain medications or to aging problems, or even as a result of radiotherapy against cancer. Less often, dry mouth can be caused by a condition that directly affects the salivary glands.
Saliva helps prevent tooth decay by neutralizing acids produced by bacteria, limiting bacterial growth and washing away food particles. Saliva also improves your ability to taste and makes chewing and swallowing easier. In addition, the enzymes contained in saliva facilitate digestion. Decreased saliva and dry mouth can be anything from a simple annoyance to something that has a major impact on your overall health and the health of your teeth and gums, as well as your appetite and pleasure. to eat.
Treatment for dry mouth depends on the cause.
- 1 Symptoms of dry mouth
- 2 When to consult a doctor
- 3 Main causes of dry mouth
- 4 Treatment of dry bite
- 5 Lifestyle Tips to Relieve Dry Mouth
- 6 Avoid products that can make your symptoms worse
Symptoms of dry mouth
If you’re not producing enough saliva, you may notice these signs and symptoms all or most of the time:
– dryness or sticky feeling in the mouth
– Saliva that feels thick and stringy
– Bad breath
– Difficulty chewing, speaking and swallowing
– Dry or sore throat and hoarseness
– Dry or ridged tongue
– An altered sense of taste
– Problems wearing dentures
Also, dry mouth can lead to lipstick sticking to the teeth.
When to consult a doctor
If you’ve noticed persistent signs and symptoms of dry mouth, make an appointment with your doctor.
Main causes of dry mouth
Dry mouth is caused by the salivary glands in the mouth not producing enough saliva to keep the mouth moist. These glands may therefore not function properly:
Hundreds of medications, including many over-the-counter medications, cause dry mouth as a side effect. Among the types of drugs most likely to cause problems are some of the drugs used to treat:
high blood pressure
Many older people experience dry mouth as they age. Some of the factors that contribute to this include taking certain medications, changes in the body’s ability to process medications, improper diet, and long-term health issues.
Chemotherapy drugs can change the nature of saliva and the amount produced. This may be temporary, with normal salivary flow returning at the end of treatment. Radiation treatments to the head and neck can damage the salivary glands, causing a marked decrease in saliva production. This decrease may be temporary or permanent, depending on the radiation dose and the area being treated.
An injury or surgery that causes nerve damage in the head and neck area can lead to dry mouth.
Other health issues
Dry mouth can be due to certain health conditions, such as diabetes, stroke, yeast infection (thrush) in the mouth, or Alzheimer’s disease, or to autoimmune diseases, such as Sjögren or HIV/AIDS. Snoring and breathing with your mouth open can also contribute to dry mouth.
Tobacco and alcohol consumption
Drinking alcohol and smoking or chewing tobacco can increase symptoms of dry mouth.
Recreational drug use
Methamphetamine use can cause severe dry mouth and tooth damage. Marijuana can also cause dry mouth.
Possible complications of a dry mouth
If you don’t have enough saliva and develop dry mouth, it can lead to:
an increase in dental plaque, cavities and gum disease
Yeast infection in the mouth (thrush)
Lesions or cracks in the skin at the corners of the mouth, or split lips
Poor nutrition due to chewing and swallowing problems
Treatment of dry bite
Your treatment depends on the cause of your dry mouth. Your doctor or dentist can:
– change medications that cause dry mouth.
If your doctor thinks the cause is drug-related, they may adjust your dosage or put you on another drug that doesn’t cause dry mouth.
Lifestyle Tips to Relieve Dry Mouth
Along with advice from your doctor, these tips may help relieve your dry mouth symptoms:
– Sip water or sugar-free drinks or suck on ice cubes throughout the day to moisten your mouth. Drink water with meals to make chewing and swallowing easier.
– Chew sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free hard candy.
– Breathe through your nose, not your mouth. You may need treatment for snoring if snoring causes you to breathe through your mouth at night.
– Add moisture to the air at night with a room humidifier.
– Hydrate your lips to soothe dry or cracked areas.
Avoid products that can make your symptoms worse
These include the following products
caffeine and alcohol
These products can cause dryness and irritation. Do not use mouthwash containing alcohol.
All Tobacco If you smoke or chew tobacco, stop, as tobacco products can dry out and irritate your mouth.
Over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants. These products can make your dry mouth worse.
Sweet or sour foods and sweets. They increase the risk of tooth decay. Also avoid spicy or salty foods as they can cause irritation.