Dry Mouth and You

You know the feeling; your mouth is sticky, your throat is dry, you feel like you could drink a gallon of water; you’ve got dry mouth. This condition, known clinically by the name xerostomia, happens to practically everyone; there’s a variety of things that can cause it, and when untreated it can lead to more serious health problems. Dry mouth occurs when there isn’t enough saliva in your mouth, and there’s a wide variety of substances and activities that can cause your saliva to deplete.

Medication is the most common cause of dry mouth; there are over 400 commonly used prescription and over-the-counter drugs that can cause xerostomia. Related to this is the use of social drugs; tobacco, marijuana, and alcohol can all affect the amount of saliva in your mouth. Illegal narcotics are even more prone to causing the condition, with meth mouth being a dramatic consequence of prolonged methamphetamine use curbing saliva production. Radiation and chemotherapy can also affect the salivary glands, and prolonged treatment will sometimes permanently damage the cells, causing chronic dry mouth. Diseases can be another cause of dry mouth; some autoimmune diseases will cause your body to attack your tear and salivary glands, most notably Sjogren’s syndrome.

Dry mouth comes with a wide variety of symptoms, most notably, that your mouth may feel dry or sticky. You may also find it hard to chew, an itchy or dry feeling in your throat, or cracked lips. More serious cases might cause you to find it difficult to speak, create sores in your mouth or a burning feeling in your throat. Your tongue may become red, dry or tingly, and you may develop mouth infections. Given how uncomfortable some of these symptoms are, you’ll want to find a way to alleviate your dry mouth.

There’s a variety of preventive measures that can help you avoid dry mouth. Unsurprisingly, the number one solution to the problem is to drink water or other sugarless drinks often, especially at mealtime. Caffeine should be avoided when you’re experiencing dry mouth, as it can exacerbate the condition; no coffee or tea with your meals! Sugarless gum can stimulate saliva production, so it’s worth considering. Avoiding social drugs that cause dry mouth is a good way of keeping the saliva flowing; everything in moderation. To this end, avoiding alcohol-based mouthwash is best to alleviate dry mouth.

The consequences dry mouth can have on your overall oral health makes it especially important to take care of your teeth if you’re prone to the condition. Brush at least twice a day using a soft-bristle toothbrush, and floss daily. Visit your dentist regularly, because they can detect whether or not your dry mouth has caused other problems, as well as give you tips on how to alleviate the symptoms of dry mouth; they may even offer you special mouthwash or other products to help with other problems you’ve developed. Markham Dental Centre is always accepting new patients, so if you’re worried about dry mouth, get in touch today!