Have you heard of xerostomia? You probably have. Xerostomia, also known as dry mouth, is a deficiency of saliva, which causes a person’s mouth to become dry and uncomfortable. Although many people can decipher what dry mouth is, fewer people understand the complications that arise from dry mouth, in addition to general discomfort.
What are the Symptoms?
Dry mouth can cause symptoms ranging from minor discomforts like frequent thirst, bad breath, or a sore throat, to more serious issues such as mouth sores, burning sensations in the mouth, or even difficulty speaking, chewing, or swallowing. Saliva is important for a number of reasons, including cleansing your mouth, helping to digest food, and preventing infection caused by bacteria and fungi. Without saliva to do these things, those experiencing dry mouth also have an increased your risk of oral health issues such as gum disease, tooth decay, and oral infection.
What are the Causes?
The production of saliva can be decreased by a variety of factors, including taking medications or undergoing medical treatments, having certain medical conditions, suffering from nerve damage in the head or neck, experiencing dehydration, or having certain habits (such as smoking, or open-mouth breathing).
How can it be Treated?
If you believe you experience dry mouth, there are a few things that may help restore mouth moisture:
If you’re on medication that you believe is causing dry mouth, talk to your doctor to see if there are other medications that s/he recommends.
By keeping saliva production up, you can help ward off discomfort, bad breath, and many oral health problems.
To schedule an appointment, or talk to a dentist, call 952.443.3368.