Dry Mouth- Symptoms, Causes and Treatment
Dry mouth is a common condition that happens to millions of people around the word.
This condition is extremely irritating at night time, when a person wakes up feeling parched and disturbed. A chronic dry mouth can also lead to bigger concerns like gum diseases and tooth decay. This blog post will look into all the details relating to having a dry mouth, how to prevent it and ways to find relief on a long-term basis. We will be covering:
- What is a Dry Mouth?
- Symptoms of Dry Mouth
- Common Causes of Dry Mouth
- Complications of Dry Mouth
- How to Prevent a Dry Mouth?
- Home Remedies of Dry Mouth
- When to See Your Doctor?
What is a Dry Mouth?
Your mouth gets a good amount of saliva in the mouth. Hence saliva does a lot for you without you even realizing it.
Saliva also focuses on increasing your sensation to taste and makes it easy for you to chew on food. It allows for you to swallow food properly. Aside from its many advantages, saliva also consists of enzymes that are energized towards digestion of your food.
If you are not having enough saliva production, it means you are having a dry mouth at night. And with less saliva, there can be extensive bacterial growth which makes it hard for you to swallow, feeling pain and parched, leading to cavities and even infection.
Symptoms of Dry Mouth
- Heavy dryness of the throat
- You will have a sticky feeling in your mouth
- There is either thick or stingy saliva
- You will have consistent bad breath
- It becomes hard for you chew, speak or swallow
- A constant onset of hoarseness
- You have a dry or sore throat
- Your tongue feels dry and itchy
- There is unpleasant taste
- You get a funny taste in the mouth when eating
- There is a lingering bad taste in your mouth
- You will feel increased discomfort when wearing dentures
- Taking tranquilizers is a reason for dry mouth
- Having the habit of breathing through the mouth can be an onset for dry mouth. It is good to correct or mend this habit in your children and young ones early on, before it becomes a cause for concern.
Common Causes of Dry Mouth
Let’s check them out:
- If you take many antidepressants as well as high blood pressure medications, you will most likely have a dry mouth.
- Ageing is a common and natural factor. Saliva production decreases as you age.
- Chemotherapy treatment also causes a dry mouth. Having constant sessions leads to decrease of saliva production.
- Taking part in radiation treatment for a surgery or injury can affect saliva production and salivary glands
- Nerve damage also has impacts your saliva production. It increases the chances of getting a dry mouth.
- People with diabetes, thrush or Alzheimer’s disease may have a dry mouth
- Having the constant habit of snoring and breathing with your mouth open
- Use of tobacco and recreational drugs
- Being caffeine-addicted can have harmful consequences
Complications of Dry Mouth
There will be increased plaque production
- This causes more tooth decay and the onset of several gum diseases
- Mouth sores will develop
- It can give way to the making of yeast infection
- A person will most likely have split skin on the sides of the mouth
- You will suffer from continuous cracked lips
- Difficulty in swallowing and chewing
How to Prevent a Dry Mouth?
Aside from affecting your health, it causes bad-breath and is extremely uncomfortable. It gets even harder to manage as you age.
But the good news is you can manage your dry mouth problem with a number of solutions. Let’s check these out:
- Hydration is key. Make it a habit to drink lots of water especially before going to bed to keep the mouth wet.
- Adapt the habit of using fluoride toothpaste.
- You should also use dry mouth rinse.
- Chew and swallow candies.
- Adapt the habit of using a dry mouth moisturizing spray.
- Spicy and acidic foods trigger a dry mouth, avoid these especially before bed.
- Smoking causes dry mouth. Skip it altogether or at the very least, don’t do it at night.
- Avoid the intake of alcohol and recreational drugs.
- If you recently had a change of medications, it is best to discuss these with your doctor to determine if they cause dry mouth.
- Brush, floss and use mouth-wash. Maintaining your oral hygiene is key to keeping the effects of dry mouth at bay.
- It will also help to add a humidifier in the room; it is best to maintain some level of moisture in the room.
- You would also benefit from having ice chips or cool water at your night stand, as it will come handy whenever you feel parched.
- Make it a habit to chew sugar-free gum or thin mints as these increase saliva production in the mouth.
- Also suck on sugar free lollipops.
- Eat healthy cannot be stressed enough. There are many types of vegetables and fruits which aid in saliva production. Know about them and add them to your diet.
When Should I See My Doctor?
Your doctor will look into your medical history and carry out a proper diagnosis to see whether these medications are actually the reason why you are facing an onset of dry mouth.
Your healthcare provider will either reduce the dosage of these medications or will probably prescribe you a new one that doesn’t dry out your mouth.
Mouth dryness also arises from some kind of obstruction to proper airflow hence your doctor will also carry out an allergy test and determine the treatment plan.
Sometimes there are structural abnormalities to be looked into. In this case, a surgery might be required even. If you have conditions like sleep apnea, this may also require a new kind of treatment plan.
Hence it is important to get the medical attention when the signs are there.
So now let’s look into:
How to Prepare for Your Appointment:
Before the time of your appointment, you should jolt down:
- All the symptoms you have- it is important that you note down all the small and big things to let your doctor know.
- Sometimes the details lie in the most modest of places. If you have been facing some concerns in your personal life or have had certain lifestyle changes, these can also trigger dry mouth issues.
- Make a note of all the medications you are taking in. Make sure to let your doctor know of any supplements and vitamins you are also taking in.
- To make the diagnosis even more effective and to know more about your condition, it is always advised to be well-informed. Don’t hesitate in asking your doctor questions like:
- Why is dry mouth a reason to be concerned?
- Is my condition chronic or for the time-being?
- What’s the most effective treatment?
- Are my other health conditions a contributing factor?
- Should I adapt certain lifestyle changes to make the treatment more effective?
- Should I consider some follow-up visits?
- Is dry mouth a genetic condition and what preventive methods should I encourage to my loved ones?
So to Sum up
It is important that you take this condition seriously and not dismiss it as just having a minor impact on your sleep.
Know that your health is branched into all parts of your body and having a dry mouth doesn’t just temporarily impact the mouth but it has long-term effects. You can make a difference by simple lifestyle adaptions.
Focus on quitting habits like smoking and drinking alcohol today. It will definitely make a strong impact on your health. Also adapt healthy eating habits. Try to introduce more of raw and organic vegetables and fruit platters into your diet.
There are certain food types that help in saliva production, keeping you naturally hydrated.
If home remedies and adapting certain lifestyle changes isn’t getting the job done, you need to seek professional help.
If saliva production has been impacted, you need to have professional advice on how to combat this concern. Know that saliva production is important in combating many kinds of illnesses. Keep an eye out and know when is a good time to seek professional help. Your awareness will keep you safe from troublesome illnesses.
Maybe you and your healthcare provider can come up with a concrete plan of action that not only combats the dry mouth crisis but also takes care of all the negative effects it can have on your general well-being and quality of life.