What is Dry mouth?
Medically known as xerostomia, this is a condition when the mouth runs out of saliva. Saliva is one of the most important requirements of the mouth to keep the mouth from getting dry. Every one may suffer from temporary bouts of dry mouth; generally this happens when one panics, or when one is terribly frightened. But when you have this condition permanently this develops as a serious problem and can develop into health related problems.
Other than the health related problems, common problems include difficulty placed in taking food, difficulty in chewing food and difficulty in speaking. Words will not come out of your mouth if you are facing this condition of dry mouth.
Health related problems include developing dental decay and other infections in the mouth.
Symptoms of Dry Mouth
Did you feel comfortable liking a stamp last moth and now you are reaching out for the gum bottle. If so, you are facing a dry mouth condition. But then is not an indicator. Indicators are: a dry and sticky feeling inside the mouth, you find difficulty in speaking, chewing and swallowing, a burning sensation in the mouth, coming up with more cracked lips than you face during the winter months, ulcers in the mouth or an infection in the mouth that you are not bale to explain for.
If your partner is suffering from bad breath, there is a likely hood that he / she are suffering from dry mouth.
If you come up with any of these symptoms it is high time that you called upon your doctor and told him your problems.
Why is saliva so important?
Saliva has a number of other functions than keeping the mouth wet; it is acting as a lubricant while you hold a conversation, while chewing food, and as a lubricant while swallowing food. It protects your teeth from decay by keeping them in a protected condition. The plaque that is being formed on the surface is being continuously being washed away from the surface of the teeth by saliva. Any healthy individual produces about three to four pints of saliva in a day.
Saliva acts as a natural disinfectant and prevents common infections from taking place in your mouth. Without saliva you will not get the nutrients required to help you digest the food required for your body.
What causes Dry Mouth?
Dry mouth has got nothing to do with aging, though due to aging less saliva is being produced by the body. Every healthy individual has to produce the minimum required amount of saliva. The dry mouth may due to some medications that you are taking to suppress some other symptoms. Consult your physician if you are facing the condition of dry mouth.
There are certain glands in the mouth that produces saliva. As and when one gets older the need for fluid in the body changes and he / she consumes less amount of fluids. This is another cause for dry mouth. The salivary glands may also not work properly due to diseases and medications.
But the main culprit remains the medications that are taken to treat certain disorders due to old age. Hence people tend to relate dry mouth to old age. Medication that are used to treat anxiety, high blood pressure, antihistamines, anti diarrheas, drugs that are used for urinary inconsistence, and certain drugs that are used to treat Parkinson’s problems.
Diseases like AIDS can also affect the salivary glands. There are certain treatment disorders that can also cause dry mouth. They are radiation therapy and chemotherapy. This treatment can make the saliva thicker and if the cancer treatment is for the mouth, then there is a cent percent chance that the salivary glands are affected due to radiation therapy.
Other chances are that the person has suffered from nerve damage as a result of some accident of the head or the spine.
What can be done about Dry Mouth?
The problem which causes the dry mouth needs to be identified and this can solve your problem. If the problem is the result of certain medications, then the dosage of the medication needs to be adjusted or another alternative medication needs to be prescribed by your physician.
If you cannot do without the medication, then your oral hygienist can prescribe artificial saliva for you. This helps to keep your mouth wet and lubricated.
What can I do about Dry Mouth?
Take some plain water or some sugar less drink continuously. This helps one in bringing down the problems that are associated with dry mouth. You can do this between meals and during meal timings. During meals this helps you in digesting your food and helps in chewing your food. It also helps in improving the taste of the food that you are consuming.
Saliva flow is stimulated by chewing some gum or sucking on candy. Go in for the sugar less variety. Choosing sugared sticks of candy or gum will result in tooth problems. Do not use tobacco or alcohol. They have a tendency to dry the mouth. Do not go in for hot and spicy foods like Indian cooking; they cause pain in the mouth.
Tips for keeping your teeth healthy
Dry mouth often results in tooth decay faster than an average person. Remember to brush your mouth regularly and avoid sweeteners in your food or tit bits that you consume. Make a dental appointment and consult your dentist about the status of your teeth.