Dry Mouth (xerostomia)
There are many factors that contribute to decrease levels of saliva and developing dry mouth. One of the most common causes is derived from prescription and over-the-counter medications (including antidepressants, decongestants, antihistamines, painkillers and diuretics). Other factors that may cause dry mouth are radiation therapy for head and neck cancers, Sjogern’s syndrome, salivary gland disease, smoking and diabetes. There are also a number of cases of dry mouth that are associated with pregnancy, menopause and emotional stress.
Saliva is the mouth’s lubricant. It coats all the soft tissue in the mouth, bathes the teeth to help prevent cavities and infections, and aids in the digestions of food. When someone has compromised salivary flow, a person will be more susceptible to yeast infections, gum disease, bad breath, burning sensations in the mouth, tooth decay and can have difficult swallowing.
Increasing one’s consumption of water may alleviate the symptoms of dry mouth. Other times saliva substitutes may be indicated to keep soft tissues of the mouth lubricated. Avoiding alcohol (including mouth rinses that contain alcohol), caffeine and carbonated drinks will help to prevent the mouth from becoming too dry. Additionally, sugar-free gums and sour candies may help to stimulate salivary flow. If you do suffer from dry mouth, Grand Parkway Smiles Dentistry may recommend fluoride rinses, pastes or trays to help prevent developing cavities and gum disease. There are actually several lines of products specifically designed to help treat a mouth that is chronically dry.