By Medicover Hospitals / 18 Jan 2021
An abnormally dry mouth, often caused by medication. Dry mouth can have causes that are not due to an underlying disease. Examples include not drinking enough fluids, sleeping with your mouth open, hot dry weather, eating dry foods, or side effects of medications.
- What is Dry mouth?
- When to visit a Doctor?
- Home remedies
What is dry mouth?
- Dry mouth is also known as xerostomia. It happens when the salivary glands in your mouth don't make enough saliva. This condition causes a feeling of dryness or dryness in the mouth. It can also cause other symptoms, such as bad breath, a dry throat, and chapped lips.
- Saliva is an important component of your digestive process. It helps moisten and break down food. It also works as a major defense mechanism to help your body maintain good oral health, protecting your mouth against gum disease and tooth decay.
- Dry mouth is not a serious illness in itself. However, sometimes it is a symptom of another underlying medical condition that needs treatment. It can also cause complications like tooth decay.
Possible causes include:
Certain health problems, illnesses, and habits can cause a dry mouth, such as: anxiety disorders and depression
- Medication: Many prescription and over-the-counter medications cause dry mouth, including antihistamines, decongestants, hypertensive medications (for high blood pressure), antidiarrhoeals, muscle relaxants, incontinence medications urinary tract, certain medicines for Parkinson's disease, as well as a number of antidepressants.
- Age: Although the dry mouth is not a natural part of aging, the elderly tend to take more medicines than the rest of the population. Many medicines taken by older people cause a dry mouth.
- Cancer treatment: Radiation therapy (radiation therapy) to the head and neck can damage the salivary glands, which reduces the production of saliva. Chemotherapy can change the nature of saliva, as well as the amount produced by the body.
- Injury or surgery: This can lead to nerve damage to the head and neck and lead to a dry mouth.
- Tobacco: Chewing or smoking tobacco increases the risk of dry mouth symptoms.
- Dehydration: This is caused by not having enough fluids.
- Exercise or play in the heat: The salivary glands can become dry as body fluids are concentrated elsewhere in the body. Symptoms of dry mouth are more likely if exercise or play continues for a long time.
- HIV / AIDS
- Parkinson's disease
- Poorly controlled diabetes
- Sjogren's syndrome
- Sleep with your mouth open
- Strokes and Alzheimer's disease are most likely to cause a sensation of dry mouth, even if the salivary glands function properly.
- The doctor or dentist will probably examine the patient's mouth and review their medical history. Blood tests and salivary gland imaging scans may also be ordered.
- Sialometry: This is a simple procedure that measures the flow of saliva. Collection devices are placed on the openings of the salivary gland ducts and the production of saliva is stimulated with citric acid.
- Saliography: This is an x-ray examination of the salivary glands and ducts. It can be useful in identifying stones and salivary gland masses.
- Biopsy: A small sample of saliva gland tissue is taken. Often used as a diagnosis of Sjogren's syndrome. If a malignant tumor (cancer) is suspected, the doctor may also order a biopsy.
- Many doctors report that often, even if the patient complains of a severe dry mouth, the oral mucosa appears wet. Less frequently, the opposite may be the case: the oral mucosa appears dry, but the person is not complaining of symptoms of dry mouth.
The treatment varies according to the cause of your dry mouth. Your doctor or dentist can:
If you have severe dry mouth, your dentist may:
- Change the medications that cause dry mouth. If your doctor thinks that the drugs are the cause, he or she may adjust your dosage or switch you to another medicine that does not cause dry mouth.
- Recommend products to hydrate your mouth. These can be prescription or over-the-counter mouthwash, artificial saliva or moisturizers to lubricate the mouth. Mouthwashes designed for dry mouth, especially those containing xylitol, may be effective, such as Biotene Dry Mouth Oral or Act Dry Mouth Mouthwash, which also provides protection against tooth decay.
- Prescribe medications that stimulate saliva. Your doctor may prescribe pilocarpine or cevimeline to stimulate the production of saliva.
- Protect your teeth. To prevent cavities, your dentist may provide fluoride trays that you fill with fluoride and wear on your teeth at night. Your dentist may also recommend the use of a weekly chlorhexidine rinse to control cavities.
When to visit a Doctor?
- See your doctor or dentist if you notice persistent signs of dry mouth. These include:
- feeling of dryness in the mouth or throat
- thick saliva
- rough tongue
- chapped lips
- difficulty chewing or swallowing
- taste alteration
- bad breath
- If you think the medications are causing your dry mouth, or if you notice other symptoms of an underlying condition, make an appointment with your doctor.
- Your doctor may order blood tests and measure the amount of saliva you are making to help find out the cause of your dry mouth and suggest treatment options.
- If you have a persistent dry mouth, it's also important to see your dentist to check for signs of tooth decay.
In addition to your doctor's advice, these tips may help relieve your dry mouth symptoms:
Avoid products that can make your symptoms worse. These include:
- Sip water or sugar-free drinks or suck on chunks of ice throughout the day to moisten your mouth and drink water with meals to help chew and swallow.
- Chew sugarless gum or hard candy. Products containing xylitol can also help prevent cavities. However, in some people, xylitol, which is often found in sugarless gum or sugarless candy, can cause gas or diarrhea if consumed in large amounts.
- Try over-the-counter saliva substitutes that contain xylitol, like Mouth Kote or Oasis Moisturizing Mouth Spray, or that contains carboxymethylcellulose or hydroxyethylcellulose, like Biotene Oral Balance Moisturizing Gel.
- Breathe through your nose, not through your mouth. You may need to seek treatment for snoring if it makes you breathe through your mouth at night.
- Add humidity to the air at night with a room humidifier.
- Moisturize your lips to soothe dry or chapped areas.
Saliva is important for maintaining the health of your teeth and mouth. Taking these measures to protect your teeth can also improve your dry mouth condition:
- Caffeine and alcohol. These products can cause dryness and irritation. Do not use mouthwash containing alcohol.
- Tobacco. If you smoke or chew tobacco, stop, as tobacco products can dry out and irritate your mouth.
- Over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants. They can worsen your dry mouth.
- Sweet or sour foods and candies. These increase the risk of tooth decay. Also, avoid spicy or salty foods as they can irritate.
- Brush with fluoride toothpaste and floss. Ask your dentist if you could take advantage of prescription fluoride toothpaste, toothpaste containing betaine, or dental gel to neutralize acidic bacteria.
- Use a fluoride rinse or fluoride brush gel before bed.
- Visit your dentist at least twice a year to have your teeth checked and plaque removed to prevent tooth decay.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Dry mouth can be a sign of certain health problems, such as diabetes, a stroke, a yeast infection in the mouth or Alzheimer's disease, or autoimmune diseases, such as Sjogren's syndrome or HIV / AIDS. Snoring and breathing with an open mouth can also cause dry mouth. Tobacco and alcohol consumption.
Dry mouth is not a serious illness in itself. However, sometimes it is a symptom of another underlying medical condition that needs treatment. It can also lead to complications such as tooth decay.
When the salivary glands in your mouth do not produce enough saliva can cause a dry mouth. This is often the result of dehydration, which means that you don't have enough fluid in your body to produce the saliva you need. It is also frequent that your mouth becomes dry if you feel anxious or nervous.
Anyone can get a dry mouth, but it is a common symptom of type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The exact reasons are unknown, but high blood sugar could cause dry mouth in people with diabetes. Some medicines used to treat diabetes can also cause dry mouth.
Take frequent sips of fluid throughout the day. Water is the best. Use chunks of ice and sugar-free items such as gum, hard candy and lollipops, frozen fruit juices, and soft drinks. They will help maintain your mouth moist without promoting tooth decay.
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Dry Mouth in the Elderly - https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/00220345940730010301
Management of dry mouth - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9344281/
A reference guide to drugs and dry mouth - https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1741-2358.1997.00033.x