Dry Mouth: Causes, Symptoms, and Relief Tips
When there’s persistent lack of saliva in the mouth, it’s a condition called ‘xerostomia’ or ‘dry mouth’. If individuals do not have enough saliva they are unable to keep their mouths hydrated, leading to an environment that is prone to many oral issues.
Dry mouth is more prevalent in the aging population. Symptoms include cracked lips, bad breath, and sticky saliva. Spicy foods and sugary drinks should be avoided as these exacerbate the dryness and make the oral cavity more prone to inflammation and infection.
What causes ‘dry mouth’?
Many medications can cause dry mouth, including antihistamines, decongestants, antihypertensives, antidiarrheals, muscle relaxants, urinary continence drugs; also some but not all of these meds can cause dry mouth – Parkinson’s disease drugs and antidepressants. It may also mean that older persons experience dry mouth syndrome due to the medications they take, and not necessarily due to aging. Cancer treatment, like radiotherapy to the head and neck, can also damage the salivary glands, decrease production or alter the nature. Surgery or any injury to the head and neck can also result in dry mouth.
Use of tobacco products also increases risk of dry mouth symptoms. Not drinking enough fluids, water especially, can dehydrate the mouth. Exposure to heat or exercising for extended periods can cause the salivary glands to dry up as bodily fluids are concentrated elsewhere in the body. There are some health conditions, illnesses, and habits can cause dry mouth, such as: anxiety disorders and depression, snoring or sleeping with open mouths, poorly controlled diabetes, Sjögren’s syndrome, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease.
When you have dry mouth, watch out for the following symptoms: bad breath, taste disorders, painful tongue, fungal infections of the mouth (like thrush), inflammation and fissuring of the lips, cracking and fissuring of the inner lining of the cheeks and lips, and soreness or splitting of the corners of the mouth.
How do you relieve the symptoms of dry mouth?
Firstly, hydration is key. Apart from drinking water, sipping non-carbonated, sugar-free fluids will be sufficient hydration; also eat carrots or celery. Choose gum that contains xylitol or a saliva substitute (carboxymethyl cellulose) as a mouthwash. But avoid mouthwashes that contain alcohol. Breath through the nose rather than via the mouth. Avoid smoking, excessive alcohol, spicy, sugary, acidic, and dry foods.
Dealing with Dry Mouth in Lynnwood
If you think you are bothered with dry mouth, all you have to do is come to us for a consultation and we’ll take a look and see the causes and understand its other symptoms.