Dry mouth refers to a condition in which the mouth is frequently dry. Dry mouth occurs in many people and affects taste, enjoyment of food and also worsens oral health. Dry mouth is medically termed as xerostomia.
Dry mouth can occur as a result of lack of saliva or no saliva, causing many problems because saliva plays an important role in preventing tooth decay and minimizing the growth of bacteria and sweeping away food debris from the mouth. Moreover, saliva also enhances taste and facilitates the swallowing process. It also consists of digestive enzymes.
Usually dry mouth is a condition that be treated after determining the underlying case, however, it is commonly a medication side effect. Speak with your doctor if dry mouth is troubling you so that he can make adjustments in medication and receive a new prescription.
Signs and symptoms of dry mouth
If you are experiencing dry mouth due to lack of saliva or no saliva, you may have the following signs and symptoms:
- Dryness of the mouth
- Thick or stringy saliva
- Cracked lips
- Split skin or sores at the corners of the mouth
- Bad breath
- Sore throat
- Difficulty swallowing and speaking
- Altered taste
- Fungal infection in the mouth
- Increased occurrence of plaque, cavities and tooth decay and also gum disease
When to seek medical attention when experiencing Dry Mouth
Persistent signs and symptoms of dry mouth may require a trip to the dentist for appropriate treatment.
Here is a short video that can help you learn about Dry Mouth – Natural Ayurvedic Home Remedies
Treatment for dry mouth
If your health care provider suspects that your dry mouth may be a side effect of medication, he may adjust the dosage of the medication or prescribe an alternate medication that may not cause dry mouth. Your doctor may also prescribe medication to enhance the production of saliva in your mouth.
In case the cause of the problem cannot be determined or treated, the following lifestyle changes and homecare tips may improve symptoms of dry mouth and enhance your oral health:
- Restrict your intake of caffeine as it can significantly dry your mouth
- Chew sugar-free gum or try sucking on sugar-free candies
- Avoid acidic and sugary foods such as candies because such foods normally increase your risk of getting tooth decay
- Use fluoride toothpaste or consult your dentist for prescription fluoride toothpaste
- Avoid mouthwash containing alcohol. Alcohol can cause drying
- Sip water or suck on ice cubes throughout the day so that you can moisten your mouth
- Stop tobacco use if you chew or smoke tobacco
- Use over-the-counter substitutes for saliva such as those consisting of hydroxyethyl cellulose or carboxymethylcellulose
- Avoid breathing through your mouth and breathe through your nose
- Avoid the usage of over-the-counter antihistamines or decongestants because they can worsen symptoms of dry mouth
- Humidify the air using a room humidifier at night