“You’ll never miss the water till the well runs dry.” How can this axiom be comparable to a mouth without saliva? Saliva which has been considered as a miracle fluid plays a vital part in preserving, protecting and improving our oral health. If saliva production declines over time or becomes impaired and lost completely, many conditions may arise, and one of it is Dry Mouth.
Dry Mouth and Clinical Manifestations:
Dry mouth is medically known as Xerostomia, commonly affecting the elderly and more prevalent in women. It is a clinical manifestation resulting from a decline in the production of saliva which may be associated with changes in the salivary gland functions.
Individuals suffering from this condition may experience:
- A sensation of dryness in the mouth and throat, hoarseness, and sore throat
- Frequently craves water
- Altered sense of taste (bitter, metallic taste)
- Chapped, peeling lips, dry corners of the mouth
- Mouth and tongue ulcers and sores
- Bad breath
- Fungal infections: candidiasis
- Gum diseases
- Dental decay and erosion
- Difficulty in swallowing and chewing
- Sticky, stringy saliva
Dry mouth is not a disease but a symptom associated with a lot of factors:
- Age: Study shows that older adults are likely to experience dry mouth which can be attributed to their increase intake of maintenance medications.
- Xerogenic medications which usually has side effects of dry mouth: Tricyclic antidepressants, antipsychotics, atropinics (Stops or slows down salivary and mucus secretions), beta blockers, antihistamines, diuretics.
- Chemotherapeutic Drugs and Radiotherapy for cancer: can cause direct damage to the salivary glands
- Diseases and Conditions: Sjogren’s syndrome (an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system attacks its moisture-producing glands); Bulimia (a disorder characterized by binge-eating then vomiting of food); Diabetes; HIV infection; anxiety; dehydration and nutritional deficiencies, etc.
- Lifestyle: Intake of Alcohol and use of Tobacco, high caffeine, and spicy food
According to a Singapore Dental Journal, “There is no cure for dry mouth; there is only palliative management to alleviate the symptoms. Listed below are tips to provide relief for dry mouth:
- Being aware of the cause of your condition will give you an idea of ways on how to minimize or reverse its effect.
- Diet: Avoid carbonated, high sugar, hard and dry, acidic foods.
- Regular sips of water to moisten the mouth.
- Chew xylitol containing gums that can stimulate salivary flow.
- Oral hygiene: brushing teeth regularly, avoid alcohol-containing mouthwash
- Lifestyle: prevent smoking and drinking alcohol
- Use of lip balm, lip moisturizers to moisten and protect the lips.
- Use of humidifiers especially at night.
- Schedule dental visits.
Say Ahhh! Think Mouth, think Health!
You deserve outstanding care. We provide Dental Services in Alpharetta. Book your appointment with us at RA Dental Studio and let us help you achieve healthy smile! Call us, (770) 575-8670 or visit us at 875 N Main St. Ste 358, Alpharetta, GA 30009.