Home | Articles | How to deal with Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)?

By Dr SVV Vedavathi
Consultant Dental Surgeon
Published on 29/08/2022

Do you have stringy, sticky saliva? Chapped and parched lips? Do you have bad breath? Gums that are swollen and red? Do you have a constant thirst? These are the signs of a "Dry Mouth." Let's understand it!

Saliva is essential for dental health, and salivary enzymes help digestion! When the salivary glands do not produce enough saliva to keep the mouth moist, it leads to "dry mouth" (xerostomia). Saliva is important as it helps to clean the oral cavity moist, removes food and other debris and it neutralizes acids produced by the bacterial germs in the mouth.

Inadequate saliva production and dry mouth can affect the overall health of an individual, it affects dental health, as well as a person’s ability to eat and enjoy its appetite.

Untreated dry mouth can damage oral health!

If left untreated, dry mouth can lead to various dental problems, including:

People might start to notice changes in their speech and taste along with swallowing issues. There can be cuts and cracks at the corners of the mouth and a burning sensation of the tongue.

In cancer patients, dry mouth usually goes away one to two months after chemotherapy, although radiation therapy to the head and neck can prolong it for up to a year.

What are the causes of dry mouth?

A dry mouth occurs when something induces the salivary glands to produce less saliva in the mouth. Possible reasons of dry mouth are:

  • Dehydration
  • Medications
  • Mouth breathing and snoring
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Aging
  • Smoking

Although it is a common symptom of both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, dry mouth can affect anyone. Even though the exact causes are unknown, diabetes patients may have dry mouth as a result of elevated blood sugar levels. Dry mouth is also a side effect of some diabetes medications.

Are there home remedies for dry mouth?

Additionally, people can adopt practices to improve oral health through routine cleaning at the dentist, which may help with dry mouth. The dry mouth symptoms might go away on their own. Several natural treatments could be used to treat dry mouth. The natural remedies include:

  • Drink more water
  • Eat fennel seeds
  • Gargle with warm water and a spoon of salt.
  • Add spices in the food
  • Drink lemon juice
  • Chew sugarless gum(xylitol)

Measures to prevent dry mouth

Understanding the root cause of the problem is necessary for dry mouth treatment. The symptoms of dry mouth brought on by high blood sugar can be managed by controlling the blood sugar levels. If you believe the medication you're taking is the cause, talk to the doctor. They might change the dosage or the prescription.

There are several ways to prevent and treat dry mouth. Try to do these listed ways to avoid dry mouth:

  • Reduce the intake of hot and salty foods.
  • Use a humidifier in the house. Increased air moisture may alleviate dry mouth symptoms.
  • Caffeine, tobacco, and alcoholic beverages should be avoided. These can worsen dry mouth.
  • Drink 8 to 10 glasses of water. Maintaining proper hydration can reduce the risk of having dry mouth.
  • Have routine dental checkups with the dentist.
  • Consuming less meals and beverages with high sugar, caffeine, or artificial sweetener.
  • Consume fiber-rich vegetables and fruits.
  • Using alcohol-free mouthwash and toothpicks to remove excess plaque and food debris from the teeth.
  • Brush your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste at least twice every day.
  • Consuming xylitol-containing mints to freshen the breath.

Conclusion

A dry mouth is a common symptom of diabetes. On the other hand, long-term diabetes-related dry mouth might cause other medical issues such as infections and gum disease. Take medication as directed by the doctor and stay away from sweet foods and beverages. If dry mouth persists, speak with the healthcare physician. It is important to discuss your symptoms with your healthcare provider and to practice proper oral hygiene.

If left untreated, dry mouth can affect eating, speaking, and overall dental health.

Don’t wait for it to get severe.

Book Your Appointment With Our Expert Dentist!

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