Why is my mouth always dry?
If you’ve ever been out on a hot day without a bottle of water or a nice cold beverage to drink then you know what it feels like to have a dry mouth. There are many people who suffer from dry mouth all the time. They are often people who carry around a bottle of water and need to take a sip every few minutes just to feel comfortable. If you’re one of those people then this video is for you.
Dry mouth can be caused by many different things. The most common causes are dehydration and side effects from medications. Things like anti-anxiety medications and anti-depressants are some of the worst culprits for creating dry mouth.
So what’s the big deal? Other than being uncomfortable, having a dry mouth is damaging to your teeth and gums. Saliva is an amazing substance that starts digesting our food, kills bacteria, washes debris away from around our teeth, and strengthens our teeth by replacing lost minerals. If you have a chronically dry mouth you are at greater risk for cavities, gum disease, and fungal infections in your mouth.
There are options to help you manage a dry mouth and minimize the consequences that can occur. If you’re struggling with a dry mouth call us to see how we can help you!
What causes dry mouth?
Prescription and over-the-counter medications are the most common cause of dry mouth. There are more than 400 medications that can contribute to mouth dryness, including blood pressure medications, anti- depressants, pain killers, water pills, and antihistamines. Dry mouth also can be caused by radiation therapy and chemotherapy, changes in hormone levels, or diseases, such as diabetes, lupus, Alzheimer’s disease, and kidney disease. Other contributing factors include stress, anxiety, depression, nutritional deficiencies, and dysfunction of the immune system, as is seen in individuals with HIV/AIDS.
How important is saliva?
Saliva is vital to everyday processes such as tasting, swallowing, speaking, and digesting. Saliva is a natural defense for teeth. Without saliva, teeth are vulnerable to tooth decay and bacterial, fungal, and viral infections. Human saliva is composed mostly of water but also includes electrolytes, mucus, antibacterial compounds, and various enzymes. The components of saliva play a major role in keeping your mouth healthy by rinsing away food particles, neutralizing harmful acids, and providing enzymes to help digest food.
What are the signs and symptoms of dry mouth?
Symptoms of dry mouth may include the following:
- Increased need to sip or drink fluids when swallowing
- Difficulty speaking
- Difficulty swallowing
- A burning sensation or soreness in the mouth
- Inability to eat certain foods
- Diminished or altered sense of taste
- Increased susceptibility to oral infection
- Sleep interruptions due to thirst
- Difficulty wearing dentures
- Tooth decay
- Stale or bad breath
How can my dentist help?
If you have any of the symptoms of dry mouth, it’s important you talk to our team at Gentle Dental Care so Dr. Kamodia can properly evaluate and diagnose the condition. There are a variety of methods available to help patients manage dry mouth. Dr. Kamodia may recommend using a saliva substitute and over-the-counter mouthwashes, gels, and sprays. To ease discomfort, Dr. Kamodia may also suggest brushing and flossing twice a day, chewing sugarless gum, drinking plenty of water, and maintaining regular dental visits. In addition, changing your diet, avoiding alcohol, caffeine, smoking, citrus juices, dry foods, and overly salty foods will help you to manage your condition.
Treatment options for dry mouth
Living with a chronically dry mouth is tough stuff! If you’re suffering then today’s video is for you. Learn about how we can help you key in on the cause of your dry mouth and work with you to improve the situation. Sometimes it’s as easy as drinking more water or stimulating your salivary gland by chewing sugar free gum with xylitol. Other times it is more complicated and we may need to talk to your primary care doctor about trying a different medication that does not cause dry mouth as a side effect or even prescribe you a medication which can stimulate your salivary glands. Don’t suffer alone! If you need help managing your dry mouth call us for a consultation today.