A dry mouth is a condition where the salivary glands in your mouth don’t generate the amount of saliva required to keep your mouth hydrated. And saliva is critical to dental health. It prevents tooth decay, improves taste buds, helps in chewing & swallowing, and aids in digestion. All these factors get affected by decreased saliva in your mouth. The common question in every patient’s mind is, “why do I have a dry mouth?” There are various factors that causes dry mouth related to your overall health. More than being a disease, dry mouth is a symptom of other health conditions. Read on to learn some critical facts about dry mouth.
Dry Mouth Causes
Dry mouth is a sign of the following health conditions:-
- Medications: Dry mouth can be a side effect of medicines taken for depression, pain, allergies, epilepsy, diarrhea, obesity, asthma, and other serious diseases. You can check with your doctor about the medications prescribed to you.
- Diseases & Infections: Dry mouth also signifies certain diseases and infections, including HIV, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, stroke, anemia, etc. Ask your doctor to diagnose your health.
- Medical Treatment: The treatments involving radiations to the head and neck, such as chemotherapy, can damage the salivary gland. Thus it may generate less saliva causing dry mouth.
- Nerve Damage: Damaged nerves due to injury or during surgery can also lead to dry mouth.
- Conditions Causing Dehydration: Certain illnesses or infections cause dehydration which leaves your mouth dry. These conditions include vomiting, sweating, blood loss, diarrhea, burns, and fever.
- Surgical Removal of Salivary Glands: If doctors need to remove your salivary gland due to an infection or tumor, it will be difficult for your mouth to generate enough saliva.
- Bad Lifestyle: Bad habits like chewing tobacco, smoking, and breathing with your mouth open can aggravate dry mouth.
What are the Possible Complications of Dry Mouth?
It is essential to get dry mouth cured as it can lead to the following painful conditions:
- Oral thrush, mouth sores & yeast Infection
- Poor absorption of nutrition because of problems in chewing and swallowing properly
- Difficulty in wearing dentures
- Gum disease (gingivitis), tooth decay, and plaque
- Cracked lips or split skin in the corner of the mouth
What are the Major Symptoms Dry Mouth?
The following symptoms can indicate that you have a dry mouth condition:
- Dry and sticky feeling in the mouth
- Increased plaque and tooth decay
- Fungal infections and sores in the mouth
- Cracked lips
- Stringy and thick saliva
- Tingling and burning sensation in mouth and tongue
- Split skin and sores of the oral mucosa, lips, and corner of the mouth
- Lipstick sticking to teeth
- Trouble in swallowing, tasting, chewing, and speaking
- Dry & sore throat and nasal passage
- Increased gum disease
- Inflammation and ulcer in tongue
- Tongue appearing dry, raw, and red
- Frequent thirst
- Problem in wearing dentures
- Taste disorder
- Bad breath
How to Prevent Dry Mouth? (Home Remedies for Dry Mouth)
Often dry mouth is a temporary condition. It can be prevented and controlled by applying simple dry mouth remedies at home only. Some of them are as follows:
- Use a humidifier in your home, especially in your bedroom at the time of sleeping
- Limit the intake of caffeine, alcohol, and chewing of tobacco
- Get OTC toothpaste, gel, saliva substitute, and mouthwash for dry mouth
- Drink water more often
- Avoid too much salt and sugar in your diet
- Chew sugarless gums and suck on ice cubes and sugarless hard candies to stimulate saliva in your mouth
Dry Mouth Treatment
Dry mouth cure or treatment depends upon the cause of your dry mouth. Your dentist may apply any of the following treatment options according to your condition:
Dry Mouth Medication
There are medicines available in the market which stimulate saliva production in your mouth. Oral rinses are also used to restore moisture in your mouth. Your dentist can also prescribe you toothpaste and gels made specially to cure dry mouth.
Management of the Dry Mouth Causes
If any medication is causing you dry mouth, your health care professional may provide you with some alternate medicines. Similarly, if any underlying disease is responsible for the decrease in saliva generation, that health condition needs to be addressed.
Prevention From Tooth Decay
A dry mouth can lead to tooth decay. So till the time the dry mouth is not cured, your dentist will make sure to prevent your teeth from decaying. They can suggest you to brush twice and floss once a day. They can also prescribe you fluoride enriched toothpaste. Also, you might need to visit your dentist frequently for a dental check-up.
When to Visit a Dentist/Doctor?
If your dry mouth symptoms are aggravating and the home remedies are not working, you shouldn’t delay in contacting a dentist. Few warning signs are mentioned below:
- Rough tongue
- Bad breath
- Cracked lips
- Lost sense of taste
- Thick saliva
- Problem in swallowing and chewing
- Dry throat and mouth
This post covered almost every dry mouth remedy and treatment option. If you are not able to cure your dry mouth with the help of preventive steps and remedies, visit your dentist in Salem, MA at the earliest for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Dr. Anu Isaac, DMD, runs a successful dental practice in Salem, MA. Dr. Isaac strives for quality on a daily basis and this commitment to quality is reflected in her constant pursuit of advanced training. Her firm belief that even experts need to stay updated about what’s new in the dental field, enables her to provide every patient with optimal oral care. As the founder of Coral Dental Care, she is dedicated to creating healthy, beautiful smiles for her patients and also to educating dental and non-dental community with her engaging articles on all things related to oral health, recent dental innovations, and latest treatment modalities.