Dry Mouth, also known as Xerostomia refers to a condition in which the salivary glands in
your mouth don’t make enough saliva to keep your mouth wet.
Your salivary glands are responsible for saliva production and they include 3 major sets of
glands and various minor ones. Saliva, aside from keeping your mouth moist has many other
uses which include:

  1. Cleaning effect of washing away food debris after eating.
  2. Antibacterial effect of fighting off bacteria entering the mouth
  3. A lubricating effect that protects your inner mouth as well as easing swallowing.
  4. Saliva reduces the acidity in some foods hence aiding in decay prevention.
  5. Effect of promoting remineralization of teeth.
  6. Effect of protecting the tongue as a lubricant and developing the sense of taste.
    What Can Cause Dry Mouth?
    Dry Mouth can occur in any age group but it’s more common among older adults. There are
    various causes of Dry Mouth and they include:
  7. Being dehydrated can lead to a Dry Mouth. Remember that saliva is composed
    mainly of water (over 98%).
  8. Certain medications such as antidepressants, muscle relaxants, some pain
    medications among others.
  9. Cancer therapy can also contribute to Dry Mouth especially if radiations are directed
    to the head.
  10. Damage to nerves that supply your head and neck region can alter saliva production
    in some cases.
  11. People who take alcohol, tobacco and other recreational drugs such as marijuana are
    more likely to have a Dry Mouth.
  12. Dry Mouth can be a sign of another underlying condition such as HIV/AIDS, Diabetes,
    Stroke among others.
  13. Mouth breathers are more likely to have a Dry Mouth.
  14. A Dry Mouth can manifest if the salivary glands have been surgically removed.
  15. Anxiety and stress can also contribute to Dry Mouth.
    Symptoms Of Dry Mouth
    Aside from the obvious discomfort, Dry Mouth can also produce the following
  16. Cracked lips
  17. Bad breath (halitosis)
  18. Dryness or a feeling of stickiness in your mouth
  19. Saliva that seems thick and stringy
  20. Difficulty chewing, speaking and swallowing
  21. Dry or sore throat and hoarseness
  22. Dry or grooved tongue
  23. A changed sense of taste
  24. If someone wears dentures, it could become problematic to wear them.
    How Dry Mouth Might Affect You
    Since the production of saliva has been compromised, Dry Mouth can have negative impacts
    on your oral health and overall health. This can include the following;
  25. An increase in dental plaque; plaque can cause a higher risk for dental decay and
    gum disease.
  26. Dry Mouth can increase chances of getting mouth sores
  27. Dry Mouth can increase chances of getting oral thrush (a yeast infection)
  28. Due to discomfort during eating, one may actually get malnourished.
  29. Split skin at the corners of your mouth.
    Taking Care Of Yourself If You Have Dry Mouth
    As stated earlier, Dry Mouth presents with some complications. It may not be possible to
    avoid it in some instances but the complications can be made less severe.
  30. It’s important to remain hydrated. Drink enough water according to your weight as
    this will prevent even other issues.
  31. Limit your salt and sugar intake: salt and sugar can lead to dehydration. In addition
    to this, sugar can contribute to tooth decay.
  32. Avoid tobacco, caffeine, alcohol and other recreational drugs.
  33. You can take saliva substitutes as recommended by a health professional.
  34. You can chew on sugarless gum. Chewing or sucking on something normally triggers
    saliva secretion.
  35. It is also important to brush and floss your teeth daily to reduce any chances of tooth
  36. Having regular dental check-ups is equally important.
  37. In case the Dry Mouth is caused by an underlying condition, it’s important to ensure
    that this condition is being managed by a professional doctor.
    You can often take care of Dry Mouth at home. If symptoms continue, though, talk to your
    doctor. They can check for any underlying conditions or change medications that might be
    causing your symptoms.
    If you have Dry Mouth, make sure to take good care of your teeth by brushing, flossing, and
    seeing your dentist regularly. This can help prevent tooth decay and gum disease caused by
    Dry Mouth.
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