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Understand the Causes and Treatments for Dry Mouth

Saliva plays an active role in keeping the mouth clean and aiding in digestion of food. Saliva also helps to prevent infections by neutralizing the acids formed by plaque in the mouth. If you don’t make enough saliva in your mouth, you may experience discomfort and a condition commonly known as dry mouth or xerostomia.


The main causes of dry mouth

Medications: One of the side effects of certain medications such as drugs used to treat depression, pain, anxiety, allergies and colds, is dry mouth. Sedatives and muscle relaxants can also contribute to dry mouth.


Diseases and infections: There are infections that cause dry mouth. They include diabetes, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, mumps, stroke and hypertension. You’ll need to undergo further tests to determine if you have an underlying condition that contributes to the dry mouth.


Medical treatments: There are treatments that can make you suffer from dry mouth. For instance, if you undergo radiation therapy, your salivary glands may be damaged in the process reducing the amount of saliva that is generated in the mouth. This in turn causes dry mouth. If you undergo radiation or any chemotherapy treatment, it can result in dry mouth.


Nerve damage: When the nerves in the neck or head area are damaged, it can result in dry mouth. Nerve damage may be due to an injury or surgery.


Dehydration: You may also experience dry mouth due to conditions such as excessive sweating, diarrhea, burns or fever that contribute to moisture loss in the body.


Lifestyle choices: There are individuals who are more prone to dry mouth such as smokers or people who breathe with their mouth open.


Symptoms of dry mouth

If you suspect that you may be suffering from dry mouth, watch out for the following signs and symptoms:


  • A burning or tingling sensation in the mouth especially the tongue area
  • Bad breath
  • A dry feeling in the mouth
  • Frequent thirst
  • Cracked lips
  • Dry feeling in the throat
  • Sores in the mouth
  • Dry nasal passages
  • Frequent sore throats
  • Trouble speaking, chewing and swallowing


How dry mouth is treated

When you visit your dentist Barrie, you may be given an oral rinse that will help to restore moisture in the mouth. Sometimes, that doesn’t help and the doctor will then prescribe medication known as Salagen that works by stimulating the production of saliva.


There are other steps that you can take to stimulate saliva production. They include:


  • Chewing or sucking on sugarless candy/gum
  • Consuming lots of water to keep the mouth moist
  • Using fluoride toothpaste or mouth rinse
  • Avoid breathing through the mouth and instead breath through the nose
  • Avoid dry air by using a vaporizer in a room when you turn on the dryer
  • Consider getting an artificial saliva substitute that is normally sold over the counter


Dry mouth increases your risk of gingivitis and can cause severe bad breath. Consider visiting a doctor today to have this condition diagnosed and treated.

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Andrew B
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