Dry mouth is a condition in which your body doesn’t produce enough saliva to keep your mouth moist. Everyone gets a dry mouth from time to time, especially if you’re nervous, jittery, or tense. But if you have dry mouth all or most of the time, you may have syndrome dry mouth. A dry mouth is a condition that slows or inhibits saliva production. It can prevent you from swallowing, chewing, or speaking clearly. A dry mouth can also contribute to the development of tooth decay and cause them to progress too quickly. The therapist may also cause bad breath, or contribute to making the prosthodontics less stable in the mouth.
What are the symptoms of dry mouth?
The feeling of dry mouth is common and everyone suffers from it from time to time. When this feeling does not go away, you should think about the real disturbances in the secretion of saliva and consult your dentist. During your dental consultation, your doctor will look for the following clinical signs:
- Dry and sticky feeling in the mouth
- Difficulty swallowing.
- Difficulty chewing/speaking
- A burning sensation in the tongue
- A feeling of dryness in the throat
- Chapped lips
- Decreased sense of taste or a metallic taste in the mouth
- Oral injuries
- Frequent bad breath
What are the causes of dry mouth?
Dry mouth can be caused by many treatments, certain diseases, certain hormonal conditions (anxiety, menopause) or certain nutritional conditions (malnutrition, loss of appetite, dehydration), in fact, some medications such as antipsychotics, and some chemotherapy treatments, removing salivary glands or irradiating a tumor in the face or neck lead to a decrease in saliva production, and therefore, the risks increase with age since you get older, the more likely you are to encounter these various causes, and there are many causes of dry mouth, can if dry mouth is caused by certain habits, medical conditions, or biological changes in the body, the following is a non-exhaustive list of factors associated with this condition:
- Lifestyle habits that can cause dry mouth
- Inadequate hydration: not drinking enough water can naturally lead to a dry mouth.
- Intense exercise: intense exercise, such as running, is known to dry out the mouth, as athletes inhale from their mouths.
- Smoking: substances in cigarettes or chewing tobacco are addictive, reduce saliva flow and destroy antibodies that fight decay.
- Alcohol: if you frequently or regularly drink and gargle with an alcohol-based mouthwash, your mouth tissues may remain dry and irritated.
- Drug abuse: heroin, cocaine, and amphetamines (such as mdma and mdma) can leave your mouth dry and prone to cavities.
Biological changes that can lead to dry mouth
- Hormonal changes: low estrogen, which occurs especially after menopause, can cause dry mouth.
- Aging: the older you get, the more likely you are to develop dry mouth.
- Health problems that can cause dry mouth
- Certain prescription medications and medical treatments: a wide range of medications, from cancer treatments to antihistamines, can cause dry mouth.
- Asthma: using inhalers can dry out your mouth, as well as mouth breathing, which is a common consequence of asthma.
- Sjogren’s syndrome: this autoimmune disease causes dry mouth and eyes.
- Type 2 diabetes: dry mouth is one of the symptoms of this systemic disease.
- Eating disorders: hunger and purging can reduce the body’s secretion of saliva.
- Diseases of the salivary glands.
- Hiv/aids: dry mouth is a common oral symptom in people with hiv.
- Alzheimer’s disease: forgetting to drink enough water and taking prescribed medications can contribute to dry mouth in patients with this disease.
- Radiation therapy: radiation exposure can cause permanent damage to the salivary glands.
- Chemotherapy: it can reduce the flow and modify the composition of saliva.
- Stress, anxiety and depression.
How do you deal with dry mouth problems?
The only permanent way to treat dry mouth is to treat its cause. If your dry mouth is caused by medication, your doctor may change your prescription or dose. If your salivary glands aren’t working properly but are still producing some saliva, your doctor may give you medication to help the glands work better.
If the cause of dry mouth can’t be eliminated, or even eliminated, you can return moisture to your mouth in several different ways. Your dentist may recommend mouth moisturizers, such as a saliva substitute. They may also recommend rinsing your mouth with mouthwashes specifically designed to help moisturize the mouth.
On a daily basis, you can also develop some habits to fight dry mouth, including:
- Drink water regularly or sugar-free drinks
- Avoid caffeinated drinks, such as coffee, tea and some soft drinks, which can dry out your mouth
- Chewing sugarless gum or sucking on sugarless hard candy to stimulate saliva flow (if the salivary glands are working)
- Stop using tobacco or alcohol that causes dry mouth
- Limit spicy or salty foods that can cause dry mouth pain
- Use an alcohol-free mouthwash, read the label and make sure there is no alcohol in the ingredients list
- Use a humidifier at night to moisten the air in your room
Dry mouth results
An adult produces about one liter of saliva per day. Dry mouth is a decrease in the amount of saliva that results in tingling, burning, difficulty chewing and swallowing, thirst, difficulty speaking, and bad breath. This decrease can also increase the risk of tooth decay, gum problems, and discomfort when eat the food.
The saliva produced by the salivary glands helps protect the mouth (teeth, gums and mucous membranes) from external aggressions, when its flow is reduced, our mouth is less protected and many cavities tend to develop, there are also problems with the gums and gums (teeth loosening).
The second notable function of saliva is nutrition. It is indeed necessary because it allows food to be digested for the first time and to perceive the taste of these foods. If you have a dry mouth, eating also becomes more difficult because swallowing is more painful. Users of removable prostheses, especially full prosthetics, uncomfortable with their device.
Available treatments for dry mouth
To deal with these problems, different solutions are available to you:
- Using saliva substitutes is spraying a solution into the mouth several times a day. It acts as an artificial saliva. These sprays are made especially before meals to facilitate swallowing and to lubricate any removable prostheses.
- If the salivary glands are still partially functioning, the use of saliva that increases residual saliva secretions may be considered.
- To stimulate saliva production, you can also chew flavored gum or pretzels, naturally without sugar.
- If you are concerned about these issues, feel free to have several check-ups annually in the clinic and very strict dental hygiene monitoring.
If your dry mouth is due to medication, you can ask your doctor if it can be replaced with a treatment that will affect saliva flow less.