If you’ve ever had that cotton-mouth feeling, you’ve experienced dry mouth. Dry mouth (xerostomia) occurs when there is a lack of saliva in your mouth. This is normal in high stress situations, but consistent dry mouth can be an uncomfortable problem. Contrary to popular belief, dry mouth is not a regular change that comes with aging, and can cause a great deal of harm to your teeth if not properly dealt with.
Saliva is an important part of your oral health. Without it, it’s harder to digest foods, keep your mouth clean and be comfortable. To learn more about how important it is, check out this Let’s Talk Teeth blog post.
Dry mouth can be a side effect of various health treatments and conditions. This can include various diseases, (ex. HIV, diabetes), radiation or chemotherapy, a medication side effect, or diet.
It is important to recognize the symptoms of dry mouth to pinpoint whether it is brought on by everyday causes or something that requires more attention. When we look at the symptoms, we’re also looking for the underlying cause, so keep in mind when you started experiencing symptoms.
- Consistent dry mouth
- Dry throat
- Bad breath
- Difficulty speaking, swallowing, etc.
- Dry rugged tongue
- If you have chronic dry mouth, where saliva production is very low or non-existent, a phenomenon known as burning mouth syndrome can occur. It’s characterized by a burning or tingling sensation in your mouth.
There are different measures you can take to help relieve dry mouth. Using a humidifier, chewing sugar-free gum or candy, and taking medication can all aid in saliva production. Other methods include:
- Reducing consumption of caffeine, soda, spicy foods and salty foods
- Hydrating often (water is best)
- Reducing alcohol intake and smoking
If you’re experiencing dry mouth or have any of the symptoms listed, book an appointment to see what the underlying causes are and get a treatment plan started. With evening and weekend appointments available at Kildonan Crossing Dental Centre, you’ll be able to see your dentist at a time that works for you. In the meantime, avoid any potential or further damage by making sure you brush and floss regularly!