Everyone can feel as if there isn’t a drop of moisture in their mouths at times. Maybe you have to get up and present in front of the board. Maybe your boss just asked if he could see you in his office for a minute, and the last five people to whom he asked that were all laid off!
But perpetual dry mouth, where you don’t have enough saliva to keep your mouth moist all or most of the time, can lead to more serious problems and be a sign of other medical issues. That’s because, while saliva may seem harmless or at times a nuisance, it does much more than simply keep your mouth wet: it helps digest food, protects the teeth from decay, controls bacteria in your mouth, and makes it possible for you to chew and swallow.
The team at Gentle Dental can help with your dry mouth.
What are the reasons for dry mouth?
Obviously, if your mouth doesn’t have enough saliva, it can be a sign that there is a problem with your salivary glands. But more often their decreased saliva production is due to other factors:
- Side effects of some medications — Over 400 medicines can cause dry mouth, including antihistamines, decongestants, pain killers, diuretics, and blood pressure drugs.
- Disease — diabetes, Hodgkin’s, Parkinson’s disease, HIV/AIDS and Sjogren’s syndrome all may cause dry mouth.
- Radiation therapy — If you’ve had cancer treatment, the radiation may have damaged your salivary glands.
- Chemotherapy — Chemo drugs can make your saliva thicker, causing your mouth to feel dry.
- Menopause — Changing hormone levels affect the salivary glands, so menopausal women often have a persistent feeling of dry mouth.
- Smoking — Many pipes, cigars, and heavy cigarette smokers can have dry mouths.
How to treat dry mouth
Dry mouth can only be resolved by dealing with the base cause. Obviously, if it is due to the reaction to a medication, see if you can switch to a different option or dosage. Otherwise, here are a few things to do:
- Sip water or sugarless drinks often
- Avoid drinks with caffeine
- Chew sugarless gum or suck on sugarless candy to stimulate saliva flow
- Don’t use tobacco or alcohol
- Use a humidifier at night
We may recommend products such as Biotene Dry Mouth Oral Rinse or Act Dry Mouth Mouthwash. For more involved cases, we may look into prescription medications that stimulate your saliva production.
Does it seem as if your mouth is abnormally dry? Come see us at Gentle Dental and we’ll get at the causes. Call us at (732) 549-5660 to make an appointment.