If you’ve ever dealt with chronic dry mouth, then you know how distracting and uncomfortable the condition can be.
Dry mouth arises when the mouth’s saliva glands don’t produce adequate amounts of saliva. It can result from a number of causes including smoking, certain medications, dehydration, depression or anxiety, cancer therapy, or autoimmune disorders.
No matter what the cause of dry mouth, the consequences are discomfort and a heightened risk of tooth decay and gum disease. That’s because saliva plays an extremely important role in our oral health, from cleaning the mouth to helping protect teeth from decay.
And if you don’t produce adequate saliva, you’re more likely to experience difficulty chewing and swallowing, bad breath, dry or cracked lips, cavities, and/or infections of the tongue, cheeks, or gums. Not nice.
Let’s talk about some of the common causes……
Dry mouth can often be a side effect of medication.
These medications are not limited to just prescription drugs – even some over-the-counter medications can make your mouth feel dry. Antidepressants, antihistamines, decongestants, pain medication and BP medication, can also exacerbate a dry mouth.
If one of these medications is responsible for your symptoms, sometimes your doctor can put you on a different medication or possibly lower the dosage.
Dry mouth can also be caused by medical treatments such as radiotherapy, or some surgeries. It can also be a direct result of a medical condition (for example diabetes, lupus, or blocked salivary glands).
So if you suffer from a consistently dry and uncomfortable mouth, always mention it to your doctor and your dentist.
One of the most obvious causes of dry mouth is simple dehydration.
We recommend drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day but the best rule of thumb is to listen to your body and drink water even before you feel thirsty, especially when in the heat and/or exercising.
If you notice your dry mouth flares up after you’ve been smoking or drinking, that’s because both alcohol and tobacco dry out your mouth and inhibit saliva production.
It’s best you quit smoking altogether for reasons we all know too well. And if you are consuming alcohol, ensure you’re drinking water between your drinks. Common sense really.
If you like using a mouthrinse, be sure to buy an alcohol-free mouthwash. Alcohol, even in a mouthwash form, can cause a dry mouth.
Some foods, especially acidic salty and spicy foods can also impact the severity of dry mouth symptoms.
Some people find that sipping water, and sucking (sugar-free) sweets or chewing gum, can help in the short term to help produce saliva. A water based lip moisturiser can also help.
Minimise sugary and acidic drinks, and brush and floss EVERY day. It’s pretty simple.
There are also a variety of pastes and gels on the market so ask us about those when you see us at your next dental checkup.
We will thoroughly examine your mouth and consider your medications and medical history to pinpoint the root cause, and suggest treatment customised to your individual dental needs.
Remember, you have a higher risk of tooth decay and gum disease with dry mouth, and these can get worse more quickly than usual. So it is important to visit your dental team regularly.
If you are suffering from dry mouth give us a call on (02) 9528 9204 to make an appointment. OR if you’d rather not ring, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org OR click HERE to leave us a message and we will call you back.
There is no need for you to go on suffering with any sort of dry mouth discomfort!
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