How to deal with dry mouth
Dry mouth also called “Xerostomia”. It is caused by many factors, mostly by the use of tobacco, certain medicines, and autoimmune disorders like Sjögren syndrome. It affects 27% of females and 21% of males adults. It also prevails in 39% of aged people that are over 65 years.
Though it is more common in aged people, still it is hard to diagnose. The patients may feel an unpleasant experience when eating or tasting food. They might see differences when communicating, and increased risk of dental diseases.
Before talking about dry mouth, let’s have a look at the functions of saliva.
Functions of the Saliva
Saliva performs the following important functions:
- It lubricates the food and makes it convenient to chew and swallow.
- It helps in the stimulation of taste buds and gives a sense of taste.
- It aids in pronouncing words.
- It can fight against microbes and has antibacterial action.
- It also acts as a buffer and regulates the pH of saliva before and after eating
- Saliva aids in removing bits of food from the oral cavity. It also reduces the chances of getting dental caries.
- It protects and improves the healing of the oral mucosa.
Signs of Dry Mouth
Some common signs:
Tongue becomes depapillated
Lack of stippling of gums
Reduced or no saliva on the mouth floor
Several dental fillings
Common Symptoms Of Dry Mouth
Some common symptoms are:
Inflammation of the oral cavity that can often cause a burning sensation;
Dental diseases, including dental caries, become more rampant;
Plaque formation can lead to poor oral hygiene and results in the bad-tasting;
Increased risks of periodontal diseases and tooth decay;
Difficulty in keeping the dentures clean;
Infections of the salivary gland, especially of parotitis become frequent;
Frequent oral infections;
Reduced tasting ability or bad taste like that of a metal;
Difficulty in speech;
Difficulty in chewing and swallowing food;
Frequently having a dry cough.
Causes Of Dry Mouth
Potential causes of dry mouth are the following:
Side Effects of Drugs
About 400 kinds of drugs have been reported to affect the salivary gland and cause dry mouth. Salivation is reduced with two hypo salivation drugs that are consumed simultaneously for a longer duration.
The following medicines are known to cause dry mouth:
Drugs for the treatment of cardiovascular disorders, commonly known as Cardiovascular agents. It’s including antihypertensive drugs;
Tranquillisers and hypnotics;
Some gastrointestinal and genitourinary systems agents;
Anti-allergics, including antihistamines;
Anti-inflammatory drugs, including steroids and some non-steroidal agents.
Antineoplastic agents (drugs used for the treatment of tumours and cancer).
Tobacco usage and smoking make a person more susceptible to dry mouth. Athletes are also prone to oral dehydration.
Poor Oral Hygiene
Breathing through the oral cavity and reduced water consumption can also cause dry mouth.
Tumours of the salivary gland can affect the production of saliva and can lead to dry mouth.
Effect of Systemic Diseases
If a person has an autoimmune disease for a long time, it will affect the moisture-producing glands and could lead to dry mouth and dry eyes. Other systemic diseases such as diabetes, liver disorders, thyroid diseases, and HIV can also cause xerostomia.
Chemotherapy and radiotherapy especially on neck and head can affect salivary glands and can cause dry mouth.
Nervous disorders such as Alzheimer’s or stroke can also cause dry mouth.