First off, what is dry mouth?
If you have a problem in swallowing food or notice that your mouth is unusually dry, you may be suffering from dry mouth. The condition is technically known as Xerostomia.
Usually, dry mouth is caused by the inability of salivary glands to make enough saliva resulting in the decrease of saliva levels in our mouth. Dry mouth can be a result of some problems which are affecting salivary glands directly or due to any side effects of medication.
Saliva assists in preventing tooth decay by neutralizing the acid produced in the mouth. It also prevents bacterial overgrowth, limiting them to a minimum quantity. Lack of saliva may affect your health adversely.
Dry mouth can be just a little problem or can expand to a serious health risk. In any case, steps must be taken to prevent dry mouth and to cure it.
What are the Symptoms of Dry Mouth?
There are many symptoms which predict you have a dry mouth, including:
- Your mouth or throat feels dry
- Your saliva seems thick and stringy
- Foul breath
- Chewing, speaking and swallowing feel difficult
- A transformed sense of taste
- Difficulty wearing dentures
- Problems of frequent tooth decay
- Gum uneasiness and gum disease
What are the Causes of Dry Mouth?
There are various causes of a dry mouth. Some of them are listed below –
1) Aging – Older people take many medications which may result in having a dry mouth. Also, they can have some medical conditions which may lead to dry mouth.
2) Medication – Loads of medicines, pills, and oral doses have dry mouth as their side effect. Depression drugs are most likely to cause this problem, as well as antihistamines, decongestants, muscle relaxants and pain medications.
3) Cancer therapy –Chemotherapeutic treatments can cause dry mouth as they affect salivary gland and amount of saliva produced.
4) Nerve Damage – Any injury causing nerve damage in the neck area can affect the proper functioning of salivary glands causing dry mouth.
There are many other health conditions like HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease which can lead to the development of the condition.
Why is Saliva so Important?
Lack of saliva can cause various problems to your health. They are discussed below.
- As saliva neutralizes acid in teeth and limits bacterial growth, lack of saliva results in increased plaque and tooth decay.
- It can lead to the development of sores in your mouth and fungal infection. Saliva keeps mouth bacteria free.
- Dry mouth can result in sticking of lipstick on your teeth, sores and split skin at the corners of the mouth, and also cracked or parched lips.
- There are problems in swallowing and chewing of food which results in less nutritional intake than our regular amount.
- Dry mouth also results in having a coated tongue which leaves a gagging sensation in the mouth and makes it harder to chew or swallow food.
If you are facing any concerns with your mouth being too dry, contact your physician immediately.