Did you ever get a feeling that you don’t have enough saliva in your mouth? We all have at some point. When the production and secretion of saliva is reduced, we call that dry mouth or Xerostomia. Dry mouth can have many causes and today we are going to discuss a few and also how you can treat it.
Possible reasons of dry mouth
First and the most common cause of dry mouth is dehydration. The biggest component of saliva is water. Water is also very important for our overall health (including our oral health). So when our water intake is less than the recommended, we could get dry mouth.
Other possible (but not so common) reasons for Xerostomia are:
- Drugs or medications (mostly medication that treat depression, high blood pressure, pain medication, antihistamines and muscle relaxants)
- Immune-related diseases
- Radiation damage
- Anomalies in saliva production
- Tobacco or alcohol use
- Anxiety (yes, that can also impact our saliva production)
You can tell if you’re producing enough saliva or not, by one or more of the following symptoms:
- Dryness in your mouth
- Feeling of stickiness in your mouth
- Bad breath
- Weird (changed) sense of taste
- Sore throat
- Problems with chewing, talking and swallowing
How is dry mouth diagnosed?
Xerostomia can be clinically diagnosed on the basis of little or no saliva pooling in the floor of your mouth. Furthermore, it can be diagnosed through your medical history, especially from the list of medication that you currently take (or have taken) since some of them might have dry mouth as a possible side effect. Aside from that, if you had radiotherapy or have autoimmune diseases, they can also contribute towards the problem.
How to treat and manage it?
Before starting treatment, you should first diagnose what is the root cause of your dry mouth. For example, if the cause are medications, then you will most likely need to change your prescription after you speak to your physician.
If you have diabetes, and you don’t manage it well enough, this can also lead to dry mouth so you need to keep a close eye on your blood sugar levels and take medication.
You can purchase artificial saliva to compensate for the lack of your own, but that’s often an expensive solution and it has little to no advantage compared to increasing your daily water intake.
You can also try chewing sugarless chewing gum, sweet or sour candy as they also stimulate saliva production.
And lastly, you should reconsider whether your daily oral hygiene routine is efficient. Most often, people with dry mouth, also have problem with bad breath i.e. halitosis and a lot of dental caries. Therefore, we recommend that you not only brush your teeth twice a day, but also include fluoride mouthwash do your daily routine. And to make sure that you go regularly to dental cleaning appointments.
Dry mouth doesn’t have to be a serious problem. But it can signal that there might be some other underlying problems. Your oral health can have a great impact on your overall health. So make sure that you visit your dentist every six months for a routine scheduled dental check-up.