Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Why is my mouth so dry?

Everyone has had times when their mouth feels a little dry, usually from lack of hydration, but for some this feeling is consistent or even constant. Does your mouth feel like this?

Dry mouth or xerostomia refers to a condition where your salivary glands do not produce adequate saliva to keep the mouth wet. Saliva is important as it makes it easier to chew and swallow. It also buffers the acids produced by bacteria which can damage your teeth leading to cavities.

There are multiple causes of dry mouth including physiological or disease related causes including:

  • Aging
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Poorly controlled hypertension
  • Poorly controlled diabetes

There are also lifestyle causes including:

  • Use of alcohol
  • Use of tobacco
  • Consumption of excessive caffeine.

By far the most common cause of xerostomia is as a side effect of medication. Some of the more common medications that cause this are ones used to treat:

  • High blood pressure
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Cold symptoms (antihistamines and decongestants)
  • Pain
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Muscle relaxants                

Relieving Dry Mouth

  • Sipping water
  • Sucking on ice chips
  • Use of lip lubricants
  • Chewing sugar free gum
  • Sucking on sugar free candy
  • Avoiding salty, spicy foods
  • Using a humidifier in your bedroom at night

Dental Recommendations

  • Brush teeth at least two times daily
  • Floss teeth daily
  • Dental visits at least two time a year
  • Use of a prescription flouride toothpaste or gel
  • Possible use of a prescription medication to increase salivary flow

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