Saliva inhibits the presence of tooth decay in the oral cavity as it helps neutralize certain acids that are from certain bacteria. Preventing the growth of these bacteria and cleaning the oral cavity of food particles will help. Saliva likewise improves our ability to taste the food, thus enabling easy food swallowing and chewing. Plus, the enzymes found in our saliva helps in the digestion of food.
Low saliva supply in the mouth and dry mouth can be a problem for some and regarded as something that can have a significant impact on their oral hygiene, health, and dental well-being. It also precludes one from enjoying good food and saps appetite. Saliva is a vital part of our overall digestion. It allows the strategic breaking down of food. It works as a defense mechanism that aids the body in keeping good overall dental health and safeguard the oral cavity from any tooth decay and or gum diseases.
Dry mouth happens when our salivary glands around our mouth fail to produce ample amounts of saliva. This can lead to a health condition that causes dry, parched, and hard to swallow states. It may likewise result in other problems like halitosis or bad breath, cracking of the lips, and a dry throat for some. Dry mouth is not a very life-threatening condition. But, it may, at times, be a symptom of an underlying medical condition that necessitates immediate medical attention. It can further cause other complications as tooth decay as well as various mouth and gum diseases. Treatment for this health condition will have to depend on its root cause.
Symptoms of Dry Mouth
When you are not producing adequate saliva in your mouth, you will experience these symptoms:
- Bad breath
- Thickening of saliva and feels stringy
- Mouth dryness
- Stickiness in the mouth
- Dry tongue
- Grooved tongue
- Difficulty speaking
- Difficulty swallowing
- Difficulty chewing
- Sore throat
- Dry throat
- Problems with dentures
- Change in appetite
- Change in taste
Dry mouth can also lead for your lipstick to stick on your teeth instead of your lips.
Dry Mouth Causes
Dry mouth happens when the salivary glands of the mouth fail to produce adequate saliva to keep the mouth and the rest of it wet. These glad may fail to work correctly due to:
Older people experience dry mouth when they age. It can also be caused by certain prescription medications, bodily changes as a result of inadequate nutrition, underlying medical condition, the inability of the body to process medication, and other health problems.
Smoking and Alcohol Use
Smoking and using alcohol can lead to a dryer mouth and exacerbate symptoms.
Use of Drugs
Recreational drug users such as those who take methamphetamine suffer from dry mouth and damaged teeth. Marijuana leads to dry mouth too.
There are practically hundreds of drugs, including OTC medications that cause dry mouth as one of its side effects. Among these types are usually drugs like oxybutynin prescribed for treatment of high blood pressure, anxiety, decongestants, anti-depression, muscle relaxants, pain medicines, and those that are used for treating depression.
Injury or surgery can lead to some damage to the nerves to the neck and head area, and this can lead to dry mouth.
Chemotherapy and cancer treatment drugs can affect our saliva and the amount it can produce. This can be temporary. The normal saliva flow can go back after treatment is done. Radiation treatments for the neck and head can result in some damage to the salivary glands, which leads to a decrease in saliva production. This can be permanent or temporary; it all depends on the radiation dosage and the area that is being treated.
Underlying Medical Conditions
For some, dry mouth is caused by underlying health conditions like stroke, years infection of the mouth, diabetes, HIV or AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, Autoimmune diseases like Sjorgen’s syndrome. Breathing and snoring with mouth wide open can also result in a dry mouth as you wake up.
Homeopathic Remedies For Dry Mouth
A momentary and highly treatable condition often causes a dry mouth. You can prevent and treat any symptoms of dry mouth at the comforts of your home when you perform the following:
- Suck on ice cubes
- Drink water often
- Reduce salt and sugar intake
- Avoid alcohol
- Stop smoking
- Avoid caffeine
- Avoid strong rinses, mints, and toothpaste
- Take OTC saliva substitute medications
- Use a humidifier in the bedroom as you sleep
- Chew on a hard candy
- Chew a sugarless gum
Make it a habit to floss and brush your teeth regularly and get a regular dental checkup at least two times a year. Follow good oral care and hygiene to avoid tooth decay and any diseases of the mouth and gums that can aggravate your dry mouth. Whenever dry mouth is caused by a pre-existing health condition, you will need additional treatments. Ask your physician for further information regarding your health condition, procedures if at all, and other long-term recourse.
Pre-existing Health Conditions That Cause Dry Mouth
When you experience dry mouth, it can be caused by a pre-existing health condition. A few of these can include:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Yeast infection of the mouth
- Oral Thrush
- Sjogren’s syndrome
- Cystic Fibrosis
- HIV or AIDS
Treatments for Dry Mouth
The physician will check all the medications you are taking, over the counter, prescription, and even herbal supplements to see if any of these may be causing you your dry mouth. They may provide you with a varying amount to take, or they can direct you to replace your medication to help alleviate the symptoms. The medical physician can also prescribe you with a saliva substitute or medication that can help enhance your mouth’s saliva production.
There are some therapies and treatments that can help regenerate or repair the salivary glands, which may be available sometime soon to help remedy dry mouth problems. However, recent medical research shows that further research and studies must be made to establish a cure.
Dry Mouth Complications
When you do not have ample saliva, and you end up with a dry mouth, this can cause the following health conditions:
- Mouth sores
- Oral thrush
- Yeast infection of the mouth
- Tooth decay
- Gum disease
- Poor nutrition that results in problems with swallowing and or chewing
- Sores around the corners of the mouth
- Cracked lips
When To See Your Doctor
Consult with your doctor or dentist immediately if you notice any persistent signs of dry mouth. These are –
- Thickening saliva
- Dry feeling in the throat and mouth
- Rough tongue
- Cracked lips
- Altered sense of taste
- Trouble swallowing
- Trouble chewing
- Bad breath
- Lack of appetite
When you think that certain medications are leading you to have dry mouth, or where you notice other signs of underlying health condition, seek immediate medical assistance from your doctor, dental, or medical practitioner. Your doctor can direct you to take specific blood tests and check the level of saliva you create to help find out the leading cause of your dry mouth and recommend some dry mouth treatment options. If you have a recurring dry mouth, it is also a good movie to see a dental professional check for any signs of problem gums and any tooth decay.
Whenever you see and experience any persistent dry mouth symptoms, make sure you consult with a medical doctor regarding your condition. You can usually take care of your dry mouth at home using specific home remedies. But, before you do, ask your doctor first about it. They will check you first for any underlying medical conditions or change the medications that you are taking that may be causing your dry mouth as a side effect. Those with persistent dry mouth must make sure that they follow proper dental hygiene by regular brushing their teeth, flossing, and going to the dentist regularly. Good dental hygiene is very useful in preventing tooth cavities, decay, and any diseases of the gums as a result of dry mouth.
Dry mouth can be a feeling where one has no sufficient saliva supply in the mouth. Once a while, people do get dry mouth. It can happen when one is nervous, stressed, upset, or sick. However, if you experience dry mouth all the time, it can be a clear indication of an underlying medical condition or serious health risks. When you suspect your dry mouth is antecedent to something severe or poses a health hazard, contact your medical doctor immediately and seek emergency medical help.
Table of Medications
- saliva substitutes
- Biotene Oral Balance
- Biotene Mouthwash