Being nervous or frightened can cause your mouth and throat to become dry. This is perfectly normal as it is your body’s reaction towards certain stressful situations.
However, if the dryness is still present despite being calm or while in your typical routine, it could be a sign of something else.
Dry mouth syndrome, or xerostomia in medical terms, is a condition in which your mouth is not generating enough saliva to keep your mouth wet.
Saliva helps neutralise the acid produced by bacteria and wash away food particles, thereby preventing the development of tooth decay and gum disease. If you have dry mouth, schedule an appointment with your Warner dentist to determine what’s causing the problem.
What Causes Dry Mouth
Medications – dry mouth can be a side effect of some medications. Some of the medicines that can trigger dry mouth include those that treat depression, anxiety, and high blood pressure. This also involves antihistamines, muscle relaxants, decongestants, and painkillers.
Smoking and drinking alcohol – people who smoke and drink alcoholic beverages are at a greater risk of developing xerostomia.
Ageing – many older people experience dry mouth due to the types of medications they take, the state of their health, lifestyle, or inadequate nutrition. Procedures such as chemotherapy and radiation treatments can also affect the production of their saliva.
Health conditions – dry mouth can also result from certain illnesses such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, and Sjogren’s syndrome. Sleep apnoea also contributes to dry mouth.
Managing Dry Mouth
- Keep your mouth wet by drinking plenty of water and eating foods with high water content.
- Chew sugarless gum to maintain good saliva flow in your mouth.
- Avoid drinking alcoholic and caffeinated drinks, as well as smoking or eating dry, salty foods.
- Take over-the-counter products that help alleviate symptoms of dry mouth.
- Visit your dentist for routine check-ups and exams
Diagnosis and Treatment
While you can easily alleviate dry mouth with home remedies, with chronic dry mouth, it might not be easy. Thus, it is important to visit your dentist or physician for comprehensive examination.
Your dentist at Warner Lakes Dental will review your medical history and the medications you are currently taking. This will be followed by a mouth examination.
Treatment for dry mouth may involve changing to medications that don’t cause dry mouth, using moisturisers, prescription of medications that stimulate saliva, and recommending dental treatments that protect your teeth such as fluoride treatment and chlorhexidine (to control cavities).