Chronic dry mouth, medically known as xerostomia, is a condition where the mouth is unusually dry. More often, dry mouth is caused by decrease in saliva. If your salivary glands aren’t producing enough saliva, you will have dry mouth. Most often, it is a side effect of certain medications and rarely a salivary gland problem.
Chronic dry mouth is quite common and can affect your appetite and meal enjoyment. Saliva also helps prevent tooth decay as it neutralizes the acid producing bacteria. Without saliva, you cannot wash away the food particles. Saliva also enhances your sense of taste and makes swallowing easier. The enzymes in your saliva also help with digestion.
According to Timberview Family Dentistry there are some to look for if you aren’t producting enough saliva.
- Mouth or throat dryness
- Thick or stringy saliva
- Difficulty chewing, swallowing, or talking
- Change in your sense of taste
- Problems with dentures
- More cavities
- Gum disease
Gum Disease Causes
Medications-Both over the counter and prescription drugs can be responsible for dry mouth. Some of the more common drugs that may cause problems include drugs for anxiety, depression, and nerve pain. If you take muscle relaxants, decongestants, antihistamines, or pain medication, you may also see a reduction in your saliva production.
Aging-Older people take more medications, and although aging doesn’t cause dry mouth, those prescriptions could be to blame. If you dealing with gum disease talk to your doctor or dentist who can recommend alternative drugs for your condition or conditions.
Cancer Therapy-Certain drugs used for chemotherapy and radiation can cause salivary gland damage decreasing saliva production. Depending on your dose, that damage could be permanent.
Nerve Damage-Surgery or an injury can cause chronic dry mouth if a nerve is damaged in your neck or head.
Tobacco Use-Chewing or smoking tobacco will increase your dry mouth symptoms. Kick the habit and you may get rid of your dry mouth for the last time.
Certain health conditions such as HIV/AIDS, Sjogren’s syndrome, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease can also cause chronic dry mouth. If you snore with your mouth open, you could wake up with dry mouth.
If you have dry mouth, Timberview Family Dentistry recommends that you schedule an appointment if you are on any type of medication. Also, see Dr. Julie Storm from Timberview Family Dentistry as it could have something to do with your teeth and gums.
There are products that you can use to moisturize your mouth. Ask your pharmacist about mouth rinses and artificial saliva moisturizers that can help lubricate your mouth.
For severe chronic dry mouth, Timberview Family Dentistry may recommend a prescription medication that can help stimulate your salivary glands.
Ask Timberview Family Dentistry about custom fitted fluoride trays or rinses for cavity control as it may help with your chronic dry mouth.
Sipping water and sugar free beverages will help keep your mouth moist throughout your day. Chew sugar free gum or try sugar free hard candy. Just be away of the xylitol, which can cause cramps or diarrhea.
If you would like more information regarding chronic dry mouth, call or click and schedule an appointment with Timberview Family Dentistry today.