On the long list of threatening medical conditions, dry mouth seems like it should be pretty far down the list.
It seems like a “who cares” condition that’s annoying but not worrisome. But your body puts saliva in your mouth for a reason. And when that saliva isn’t present, all kinds of issues—minor and major—can develop.
Which is why Comfort Dental Centre Buderim would like to acquaint our readers with dry mouth, and it’s causes, condition, and cures.
Symptoms of dry mouth
There many symptoms that indicate that you have a dry mouth. The symptoms include:
- Dry lips
- A burning sensation or soreness in your mouth.
- Recurrent mouth infections e.g. recurring oral thrush.
- Decreased sense of taste.
- Gum disease
- Tooth decay
- Bad breath
- Difficulty speaking
Issues Associated with Dry Mouth
Saliva in our mouths helps us swallow food, wash food debris off of gums and from between teeth, and defend against plaque. When saliva production is reduced, the resulting dry mouth can lead to gum disease and severe tooth decay. 30 percent of all tooth decay in older adults, for instance, is caused by dry mouth, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation.
Untreated dry mouth can also lead to health issues, including:
- Sore throat
- Problems speaking
- Difficulty chewing and swallowing
- Burning sensation in mouth
- Dry nasal passages
- Difficulty wearing dentures
Causes of dry mouth
Dry mouth can have a number of causes, both internal and external. Here are a few examples:
- Sjogren’s Syndrome
- Side effects from medical treatments
- Damage to salivary glands
- Nerve damage
Certain prescription drugs list dry mouth as a side effect as well. Some of the types of drugs that can cause this are:
- Blood pressure drugs
- Muscle relaxants
- Urinary incontinence drugs
- Parkinson’s Disease drugs
- Diabetes medications
- Alzheimer’s Disease drugs
What can you do?
- Increase Fluid Intake. Dehydration is one of the most common causes of dry mouth. So, the best thing you can do is keep your fluid intake high. Proper hydration makes it easier for your body to produce more saliva, fighting dry mouth. So:
- Drink water throughout the day. If you cannot drink water, suck on small pieces of ice.
- Eat partly frozen chunks of water-based fruits and vegetables like pineapple, watermelon, and strawberries.
- Drink smoothies, fruit juice, or vegetable juice.
- Drink herbal teas like green tea, chamomile tea, or others.
- Eat soft and liquid foods like stews and soups.
- Avoid caffeinated beverages, sodas, and alcoholic drinks as they can contribute to dehydration.
- Chew sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free hard candies to stimulate the flow of saliva.
- Don’t use mouthwashes that contain alcohol because they can be drying.
- Stop all tobacco use if you smoke or chew tobacco.
- Try a mouthwash designed for dry mouth — again, look for xylitol.
- Avoid using over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants that can make your symptoms worse.
- Breathe through your nose, not your mouth.
- Add moisture to the air at night with a room humidifier.
- Avoid sugary or acidic foods and drinks because they increase your risk of tooth decay.
- Brush with fluoride toothpaste — ask your dentist if you might benefit from prescription fluoride toothpaste.
- Use a fluoride rinse or brush-on fluoride gel before bedtime. Occasionally a custom-fit fluoride applicator (made by your dentist) can make this more effective.
- Visit your dentist at least twice yearly to detect and treat tooth decay or other dental problems.
If these steps don’t improve your dry mouth, talk to your doctor or dentist. The cause could be a medication or another condition. As mentioned above, medications are a very common cause of dry mouth and lasting relief from dry mouth may mean stopping or changing medications or their dosage, or treating the health issues that underlie the dry mouth.
What can Comfort Dental Centre Buderim do?
If you have severe dry mouth, we may:
- Prescribe medication that stimulates saliva. Your doctor may prescribe cevimeline or pilocarpine or to increase saliva production. These drugs enhance secretion for a few hours. Patients should increase fluid intake during use.
- Protect your teeth. To prevent cavities, your dentist might fit you for fluoride trays, which you fill with fluoride and wear over your teeth at night. Your dentist may also recommend weekly use of a chlorhexidine rinse to control cavities.
Comfort Dental Centre Buderim Cares
Comfort Dental Centre Buderim provides expert care for healthy, beautiful smiles. When you leave our office not only will you be happy with the treatment you received, but also how well you were treated.
We serve patients from Buderim and surrounding areas with top-notch dentistry. Our dental practice in Buderim provides the highest quality of dental care, in a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere, with a commitment to excellent customer service.
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