14 May 2021
DRY MOUTH: CAUSES, SYMPTOMS, CONSEQUENCES & TREATMENT
A hydrated body has a reduced chance of falling sick, and a hydrated mouth keeps your oral cavity germ-free. You would have heard that dry mouth causes bad breath, plaque formation and other dental diseases. So, let’s find out what are the causes for dry mouth and how to prevent it.
What is dry mouth oral disease?
Dry mouth is medically termed as xerostomia or dough mouth and occurs when the salivary glands in your mouth fail to produce enough saliva required to keep the mouth hydrated. It leads to a parched, dry feeling in your mouth. Though dry mouth is not a severe medical condition in itself, it could be an alarming sign for other severe dental diseases.
What is the importance of saliva?
Saliva is a crucial part of the digestion process. Enzymes in saliva enhance your food tasting ability, moisten and soften the food you consume, breaking it into minute particles that get digested easily. When you consume food, minute food particles stick in-between the teeth that provide food for bad bacteria in the mouth. Saliva washes away the stuck food particles, limits the presence of bad bacteria in the mouth and neutralizes the acids produced by bad bacteria in the mouth. Thus, saliva acts as the natural defense system in your mouth, protecting your oral cavity from harmful bacteria, acids and oral disorders.
What are the causes of dry mouth?
Dry mouth, as already mentioned, results due to the decreased production of saliva in the mouth. Here are a few reasons that reduce salivary production and cause dry mouth.
Various medicines and over-the-counter drugs that treat diverse diseases dry your mouth as a side effect. For instance, the drugs used to control high blood pressure, medicines to treat depression and anxiety, and other diseases cause dry mouth. Dry mouth is also a side effect of a few sedatives. Make sure you drink enough water to keep the mouth hydrated.
Your dry mouth could be due to the side effect of a few medical conditions like Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, anemia, rheumatoid arthritis, stroke and mumps. Sometimes in the treatment of diseases like cancer, radiations administered during chemotherapy damage the salivary glands, causing decreased production of saliva and dry mouth.
Fever, sweating, vomiting and excessive work dehydrate the body as well as the mouth. This leads to dry mouth.
When you smoke or consume tobacco products, the salivary glands are disturbed, which causes reduced production of saliva. This leads to dry mouth, and smoking is also responsible for other oral diseases like plaque formation, gum diseases and oral cancer.
Aging is one other factor for dry mouth as the hormones change and the body’s ability to process medication, absorb nutrients also change. This, in turn, also reduces the production of saliva, causing dry mouth.
Few people have the habit of breathing through their mouth. When you keep your mouth open to breathe, the air coming in dry out and leads to dry mouth condition. Also, when you are under stress or anxiety, you tend to hyperventilate or rapidly breathe through your mouth, which again, leads to a dry mouth. It indicates that stress not only affects your mental health but your entire health system. Thus your lifestyle can have a considerable impact on the drying of your mouth.
Symptoms of dry mouth
- Dry feeling in the mouth
- Dry and red tongue
- Frequent thirst
- Thick and sticky saliva
- Difficulty in chewing or swallowing food
- Changes in taste
- Burning sensation in mouth and throat
- Bad breath
- Sore throat
Treatment of dry mouth
Dry mouth can be treated by trying a few home remedies as follows.
- Drinking plenty of water to keep the body and mouth hydrated.
- Suck on ice chips or sugar-free ice pops but do not chew the ice.
- Brush and floss your teeth regularly and have a proper check on your oral hygiene.
- Give up on smoking, alcohol and tobacco products.
- Limit the intake of sodas and acidic or carbonated drinks.
- Breathe through your nose and avoid breathing through your mouth.
- Have control of your stress and anxiety.
- Chew on sugarless gums that increase salivary production.
Dry mouth, if left untreated for long, it prolongs to cause other dental or oral defects. Try the above-mentioned home remedies for treating dry mouth, and if you don’t get sufficient results, visit our dental clinic, The Elite Dental Care, one of the leading dental clinics in Tracy, California for the treatment of dry mouth. To find more dental health tips, keep reading our blogs on https://theelitedental.com