Dry mouth reduces salivary flow in the mouth, which can range from mild to severe. Dry mouth can result from less saliva production or due to a malfunction of the salivary glands. The main salivary glands are in the cheeks and underneath the tongue.
There are many causes of dry mouth. The main culprits for dry mouth are ageing, certain lifestyle habits such as smoking and consumption of alcohol, dehydration, certain medications such as antihistamines, antidepressants and cholesterol and blood pressure medications, radiation to the head and neck from cancer treatment and certain medical conditions such as diabetes, cystic fibrosis, Sjogren’s syndrome, HIV/AIDS and rheumatoid arthritis.
Symptoms associated with a dry mouth are a sticky, dry feeling in the mouth, chapped lips, sores or cracks in the soft tissues of the mouth and lips, frequent thirst, difficulty speaking, eating and swallowing and a burning or tingling sensation in the mouth.
Experiencing a dry mouth can be quite uncomfortable and challenging to live with, and it can also lead to more sinister problems over time. Saliva aids in clearing food and bacteria away from the teeth and gums, reducing the presence of cavities and gum disease. Without the help of saliva, bacteria are more likely to sit on the teeth and gums, leading to a higher risk of cavities and gum disease.
The treatment for dry mouth is based on the cause, and in some cases, is just about managing the symptoms. Essential tips for reducing dry mouth are:
If you have any questions about the dry mouth or believe you may be experiencing it and would like to discuss treatment options, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.