What is Dry Mouth?
Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, is a dental problem in which saliva production shuts down. Saliva neutralizes acids and provides antibodies against bacterial threat. Saliva helps digest food and helps teeth in remineralisation. It also keeps the mouth lubricated and prevents food particles to cling onto the teeth and gums for too long. So, no production of salvia definitely can’t be very good news.What are the Causes of Dry Mouth?
There are many causes of dry mouth. A dry mouth can be caused due to radiation treatments for cancerous tumours, salivary gland diseases, diabetes, hormonal imbalance, mouth breathing, sleep apnea, rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupuserythematosus. Eating disorders or blockage of salivary duct due to stone, injury or infection can also cause a dry mouth. Dry mouth most commonly occurs as a side effect of medications that cause a decrease in saliva production. These medications can be for ailments such as blood pressure, antihistamines, antidepressants, diuretics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, etc. Dry mouth will often occur during pregnancy or breastfeeding due to dehydration and hormonal changes. Other causative factors include stress, anxiety, depression, and dehydration.Why is Dry Mouth Harmful?
You are more prone to tooth decay
if you have a dry mouth because saliva limits bacteria growth and does a partial cleaning of food debris and dental plaque. In the absence of sufficient salvia this cleaning does not happen. Gum diseases are also common in people who suffer from a dry mouth. A dry mouth leaves you with an acidic taste in the mouth. The absence of saliva decreases the ability to taste, swallow and digest foods. Dry mouth can also make things difficult for dentures and partials because contact on dry gums is difficult, and can also be painful & may lead to blisters & ulcers.How to Treat a Dry Mouth?
Dry mouth treatment will depend on what is causing the problem. If you think you have dry mouth, see your doctor at once. If your dry mouth is caused by medicine, your doctor might change your medicine or adjust the dosage. If your salivary glands are not working right, your doctor will give you medication that help the glands work better.Chewing on sugarless gum or sugarless hard candy can stimulate saliva flow; citrus, cinnamon or mint-flavoured candies are good choices. Sipping water or sugarless drinks is advisable. Avoid caffeine, such as coffee and tea that can dry out the mouth. Your physician or dentist might suggest that you use artificial saliva to keep your mouth wet. Avoid the intake of tobacco or alcohol.
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