Everyone’s mouth feels dry from time to time. However, if this is a long-lasting feeling that does not go away, you may have xerostomia (also known as dry mouth). Xerostomia is a cause for concern as you are more susceptible to develop cavities, gum disease and oral infections. Xerostomia symptoms can range from mild oral discomfort to significant disease (caries or cavities.) Possible symptoms include the following:
- A dry, sticky feeling mouth or throat
- Cracked Lips
- Dry, tough tongue
- Difficulty chewing, swallowing, tasking or speaking
- Chronic bad breath
What Causes Xerostomia/Dry Mouth?
Xerostomia occurs when the glands that make saliva in your mouth are not working properly. Common causes include medications, lack of sleep, stress, dehydration and more. In fact, according to Colgate and the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, more than 400 medications may limit saliva production. Dehydration is also a common cause of dry mouth syndrome. Physical activity, especially on a hot day, and illness can cause dehydration.
Why is Dry Mouth a Problem?
If you are experiencing xerostomia, you are at risk for a myriad of other issues. Because spit plays such an essential role in your overall health, dry mouth means you could be at a higher risk for the following:
- Caries aka tooth decay/tooth loss
- Bad breath
- Thrush and other mouth infections
What Can You Do About Dry Mouth Symptoms?
Treatment for dry mouth depends on the root cause. If you are suffering from dehydration, the answer is as simple as drinking more, and more frequently. We point out that what we drink is important too. Because beverages such as pop, juice, and energy drinks are acidic and most likely loaded with sugar, we recommend water for our #1 choice for hydration. The last thing we want is for you to resolve your dry mouth, only to get more cavities caused by the acid erosion and sugar of the beverages that we consume.
If you are experiencing xerostomia as a side effect of medication you are taking, you need to chat with your doctor about the possibility of adjusting the type or dose of medication you are taking. Most importantly, be sure to keep up with regular oral hygiene through brushing, flossing, and perhaps even a water flosser, such as a WaterPik. Saliva substitutes, such as Bioten, are also helpful in fighting xerostomia. They can be bought at pharmacies.
If you would like to find out more about a personalized solution for dry mouth or its related oral problems, we encourage you to book an appointment at Canyon Dental today. Our team of dentists would be happy to work with you to help you find a solution. We are conveniently located in the Calgary South Centre Mall and look forward to seeing you soon.