Food is necessary for all human beings to keep them physically and psychologically fit. At the same time, adequately taking food is as important as the food itself is. When it comes to eating, your mouth and tongue become crucial. Saliva helps us moisten and cleanse the mouth and digest food efficiently.
Your mouth will become dry, and food will not be digested in the right way. Well, it’s a long story to discuss, stay tuned to learn more about dry mouth illness and its possible causes;
What do you need to know about dry mouth illness?
Dry mouth illness or xerostomia refers to a condition in which the salivary glands in your mouth do not produce enough saliva. Dry mouth illness is often due to the adverse effects of certain medications or aging due to radiation therapy by cancer.
What does saliva do?
Saliva helps prevent tooth decay and limit bacterial growth by neutralizing bacteria-produced acids. Saliva also improves your ability to taste and makes it easy to swallow. In addition, saliva enzymes help in food digestion.
Dry mouth or decreased saliva can range from being merely a nuisance to something that significantly impacts your general and teeth health.
Primary causes of dry mouth illness?
The most common causes behind the dry mouth illness may include;
Side effects of some medications: Dry mouth may be a common side effect of many prescription or non-prescription drugs. These drugs may include medications for anxiety (Xanax and Alprazolam), medicines for pain (Oxycodone and OxyContin), and allergies and cold. This condition may also be because of a muscle relaxing pill like Soma.
A side effect of certain diseases: Dry mouth is a common aftereffect of several medical conditions and infections. These conditions may include HIV/AIDS, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, hypertension, stroke, mumps.
A side effect of some medical procedures: Damage of salivary glands that make saliva can cause dry mouth illness. For example, the severe damage could stem from radiation to the neck and head, and chemotherapies for cancer.
Nerve damage: Dry mouth illness can be a result of nerve damage to the neck and head area from an injury or surgery
Lifestyle: Chewing or smoking tobacco can affect your body’s saliva and aggravate dry mouth. Irregular breathing mechanisms can also contribute to dry mouth.
Dehydration: Conditions like dehydration, fever, vomiting, and excessive sweating can also lead to dry mouth illness.
What are the primary symptoms of dry mouth illness?
Common symptoms of dry mouth illness may include;
- A sticky and dry feeling in the mouth or frequent thirst;
- A dry feeling in the throat or a dry, red, raw tongue;
- Sores in the mouth; sores at the corners of the mouth;
- Trouble testing, swallowing, and chewing;
- Problems speaking, etc.
How is dry mouth illness treated?
Treatment for dry mouth illness depends upon what is causing the condition. Generally, treatment focuses on three areas.
1) managing other conditions,
2) preventing tooth decay,
3) increasing saliva flow.
Management of causes of dry mouth illness
Talk to your healthcare instructor if you think your condition is caused by certain drugs you are taking. The doctor may adjust the amount you are taking or replace it with a drug that does not cause dry mouth. If a disease or infection is causing dry mouth, illness cannot be changed. E.g., if your salivary gland is damaged or is a result of the disease itself. Diseases may include Alzheimer’s disease and stroke.
Preventing tooth decay
Saliva not only digests food and makes it possible for you to swallow, but it is also a natural mouth cleanser. Gum disease or tooth decay is more likely without saliva or dry mouth illness. If you suffer from dry mouth illness, you will be extra careful about following good habits and hygiene to fight tooth decay or gum disease.
Your hygienic habits may include;
Flossing your teeth every day;
Brushing your teeth two times a day (before and after meal);
Using a toothpaste that contains fluoride;
Visiting a dentist or mouth specialist for regular checkups and cleaning at least twice a year, etc.
Tips for managing dry mouth illness
Chew a pack of sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free candy, specifical ones with xylitol. Also, do not chew or suck candies or gums that contain acids like lemon. These chewing and sucking actions help stimulate saliva flow. But, sometimes, they also can soften your teeth’ enamel. To avoid cavities and tooth wear, use candies or gums only in moderation.
Drink plenty of water or juices to help keep the mouth moist and loosen mucus. Carry water bottles with you to stay hydrated throughout the day. Also, keep moisture in your bedroom before sleeping.
Try to breathe through your nose instead of using your mouth as much as possible.
Products that can worsen the dry mouth illness
Caffeine and alcohol: These addictive products can cause irritation and dryness. Also, you should avoid using mouthwash that contains alcohol.
All tobacco products: Tobacco products and spit due to tobacco use contribute to dry mouth illness. You should avoid using tobacco products.
Sugary or acidic products: You should avoid using products that contain high sugar percentages or acids. If your doctor advised you to chew gums or suck candies, use sugar and acid-free products.
Dry mouth illness is a type of disease that occurs due to the lack of saliva. This illness can be a cause of dehydration and damaged salivary glands. Certain foods like acidic products and lousy hygiene can trigger dry mouth illness.
In severe nerve damage, you will need to take proper medical attention and sometimes surgery. However, some simple lifestyle and food selection changes can manage common dry mouth illnesses. Ask your healthcare provider for more details.
Note: This information was collected from the different medical researches and data available on the internet. Some artificial and factual errors are possible as we do not claim to be perfect. Please ask your health care provider before using this information as a medical alternative.