From the category archives:

Dry Mouth

Dental Health: Dry Mouth

by admin on March 12, 2009

Saliva is a digestive enzyme, a cleansing agent, and a moisturizer. It has also got germicidal properties and so protects the mouth from micro-organisms like fungi and bacteria. A mouth without saliva would be a parody, and a very uncomfortable proposition at that. Luckily, there are effective remedies for a dry mouth.

What Leads to a Dry Mouth?

A variety of things, as listed below, can lead to a dry mouth.

  • Certain medicines. The use of some over the counter medicines or prescription medications can cause a dry mouth. Decongestants and antihistamines used in treating allergies and colds, and sedatives, and muscle relaxants, can lead to it. Diuretics used in the treatment of acne, hypertension, epilepsy, and obesity, and bronchodilators used for asthma, and a variety of drugs used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, depression, anxiety, diarrhea, or nausea, can also have dry mouth as a side effect.
  • Diseases or infections. Dry mouth is often seen in people suffering from AIDS. It is a symptom of even a minor infectious disease like mumps. And many problems like Alzheimer’s disease, Sjögren’s syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, and anemia and stroke and hypertension have dry mouth as a symptom.
  • Medical treatments. Chemotherapy done for cancer can result in reduced production of saliva, while radiation to head or neck areas can also cause damage to salivary glands and lead to a dry mouth.
  • Nerve damage. Any damage to a nerve around the mouth, which is supplying the salivary glands, can cause a dry mouth.
  • Dehydration due to diseases. Vomiting, diarrhea, fever, loss of blood, burn injuries, or heavy sweating can cause the body to dehydrate. This in turn will lead to a dry mouth.
  • Removal of salivary glands by surgery. This will cause a dry mouth as production of saliva will be completely stopped.
  • Daily habits. Open-mouthed breathing, tobacco chewing, or smoking can affect a faster rate of drying of saliva and increase dryness of the mouth.

Dry Mouth Symptoms

The following are the symptoms of a dry mouth:

  • A parched feeling in the mouth.
  • Constant thirst.
  • Cracked lips, mouth sores, and skin cracking at mouth corners.
  • Dry throat.
  • A burning mouth or stinging sensation on the tongue.
  • A dry tongue, or red tongue.
  • Difficulty in speaking, and in chewing and ingestion of food.
  • Sore throat, or dryness in nasal passage.
  • Halitosis or mouth odor.

Dangers from a Dry Mouth

Besides causing the problems listed above, a dry mouth puts a person at increased risk of mouth infections like thrush, tooth decay, and gingivitis, a gum disease. Wearing dentures is also not easy for people who have a dry mouth.

Treatment for Dry Mouth

If you developed dry mouth symptoms soon after you were put on some drug, the drug is probably the cause of it. You should then report the problem to the doctor who can change either the medicine or the dosage to solve the problem.

A common remedy prescribed for a dry mouth is an oral rinse. A medicine by the name Salagen, is also effective in increasing saliva production. Some home remedies that can ameliorate the dry mouth problem are the following:

  • Chewing candy or gum that is sugar-free.
  • Drinking large quantities of water.
  • Using a fluoride toothpaste and fluoride oral rinse. Regular visits to a dentist will also help.
  • Remembering to keep the mouth closed.
  • Using a vaporizer that can moisturize the air.
  • And over the counter medications are available which can work as a saliva substitute.

{ Comments on this entry are closed }