Feeling parched lately? If so, this could be a sign of dry mouth syndrome, or xerostomia, which becomes an outstanding issue as a result of age, medication, illness and lifestyle.
Salvia plays a major role in oral health and digestion, neutralising acids and bacteria produced in the mouth with anti-fungal and calcium properties, as well as affecting both speech and taste.
If there is a low level of salvia being produced by the salivary glands, this can be a big problem and lead to issues such as tooth decay, gum disease, a dry throat and much more!
Here are some of the causes of dry mouth syndrome, what signs to look for and how you can prevent it!
The causes of dry mouth include:
There are hundreds of drugs and medications out there with one thing in common: dry mouth side effects. These include painkillers, blood pressure meds, anti-depressants, sedatives and muscle relaxants.
Age and Illness
Naturally the older we get, the less saliva we make, and we are more susceptible to illness, disease and other complications which requires us to take medication or undergo procedures that can cause dry mouth.
Diabetes, Sjogrens’s Syndrome (a disease that affects the eyes, sweat and salivary glands), hormonal changes from menopause or pregnancy, exposure to radiation through chemotherapy treatment and other infections including colds, the flu and allergies – all contribute to a dry mouth.
A dry mouth can be simply down to bad habits. From not drinking enough water as part of dehydration, smoking or chewing tobacco and drinking alcohol.
Dry mouth symptoms include:
Tooth decay and cavities
As mentioned previously, saliva helps to protect your teeth and mouth from any oral issues like gum disease and tooth decay. If you’re having to visit the dentist with a number of cavities, this could be a symptom of dry mouth.
Are your dentures feeling a little loose? With partial or full dentures, suction between the acrylic or chrome base of the denture and gum tissues becomes difficult with a lack of saliva to help hold them in place.
Therefore, dentures may feel a lot looser than usual and problems like denture sores and the tongue sticking to the palate is a clear symptom.
Problems with chewing or swallowing
With a lack of salvia, your overall enjoyment of food can change – after all, salvia moistens food and brings out its delicious textures and tastes.
Dry foods like crackers, crisps or biscuits can be much harder to swallow for example.
- Bad breath
- Cracked lips
- Thick or sticky saliva
How can I treat dry mouth?
Simple self-care tasks such as brushing and flossing regularly, using lip balm, drinking plenty of water whilst avoiding sugary or acidic foods and drinks can all help relieve the symptoms of dry mouth.
Medication wise, consult with your doctor or pharmacist about minimising the dosage or using alternative medicines. But, if there are no alternatives, do no stop taking your medicine without approval or knowledge from your doctor or healthcare provider.
If you wear dentures, always seek advice from your dentist or clinical dental technician to get to the “root” of the problem. At Smiles and More, we offer free consultations and expert advice on how to care for your dentures and mouth. Book for an appointment by calling your nearest clinic in Warrington, Widnes or Chester for full dentures and denture repairs. Or for a quick response, fill in our ‘Ask Gary’ form on the homepage and we’ll be happy to deal with your query.