Is Dry Mouth Affecting You?

Is Dry Mouth Affecting You?

Dry Mouth can affect chewing, swallowing and the health of your entire mouth.

Dry Mouth can affect chewing, swallowing and the health of your entire mouth.

Causing difficult or embarrassing situations for you? Dry Mouth symptoms can make eating, swallowing, even tasting hard to accomplish. Dry Mouth leaves the mouth with not enough saliva. Slippery saliva is the key to a healthy mouth but it also helps you taste, chew and digest food. Without saliva, a nice dinner can become a task more challenging than enjoyable. Saliva lubricates and protects your mouth from infection, protects your teeth from the acids in food and aid in predigestion. Reduced saliva flow can lead to damaged mouth tissue and contribute to both dental decay and bad breath. Severe symptoms of Dry Mouth are the reason that Xerostomia treatment is crucial to both good oral health and good overall health, further more reducing the symptoms of Dry Mouth just makes life more  comfortable.

 

Dry mouth or  Xerostomia, is the result of not having enough saliva in your mouth.

How Do You Know You Have Dry Mouth?

It’s somewhat normal as we age to experience both a reduction in saliva, even in our tear production. The symptoms of Dry Mouth may be slight or gradual in onset. If any of these symptoms seem to apply to you, starting treatment, addressing it now can prevent the damage associated with prolonged persistent Xerostomia.

  • Food sticking to the top of your mouth
  • Food clinging to teeth and crevices more than normal
  • Dry lips
  • Cracked corners of the lips
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Saliva that seems thick and stringy
  • If you wear lipstick you may find it sticking to your teeth
  • If you find yourself subconsciously avoiding certain foods because they are hard to swallow, too dry, or you find those foods just hard to eat
  • Dry tongue and mouth impact your entire quality of life
  • You find food difficult to taste that you previously enjoyed
  • Dry throat
  • Cough
  • Hoarseness,  sore throat
  • Trouble speaking,
  • Developing mouth ulcers
  • And or due to the level of stress on the tissues in the mouth, fungal infections may become prevalent.
  • Tooth decay may become more prevalent
  • Increase of plaque and tarter may plague a severely dry mouth
  • Dry mouth at night
  • Excess thirst at night
  • Waking up in the middle of the night with dry mouth
  • As the condition progresses, if left unchecked, you may develop a “pebbled” tongue, the insides of the cheeks and gums may take on a red and shiny appearance.

The Causes of Dry Mouth

Age is the primary factor in developing Dry Mouth. Age related diseases and medications are a significant part of that equation. Some of the specific diseases that can induce Dry Mouth are Sjogren’s Syndrome, diabetes, certain types of cancers, Parkinson’s and medications associated with cancer Parkinson’s, heart disease and many many more.

While there is a drug that doctors can prescribe for extremely dry mouth called Salagen, it has it’s own set of side effects and precautions. Salagen is generally used in extreme cases and when not contraindicated from other medications. Most common reasons for the medication are usually related to diseases such as Sjogren’s. Typically over the counter oral rinses and increased water consumption, the initial response, can help improve the quality of saliva in the mouth by increasing the moisture.

What Else Can You Do

Here’s a quick list of other options to try which may help improve saliva flow:

Having adequate hydration and sufficient saliva helps create a slippery barrier to protect teeth and gums.

Having adequate hydration and sufficient saliva help create a slippery barrier to help protect teeth and gums.

  • Suck on sugar-free candy or chew sugar-free gum.
  • Drink plenty of water to help keep your mouth moist.
  • Breathe through your nose, not your mouth, as much as possible.
  • Use a room vaporizer (especially while sleeping) to add moisture to the bedroom air.
  • Use an over-the-counter artificial saliva substitute.

See your dentist and address this issue to make sure you are doing all you can to preserve your oral health by maintaining the proper amount of  wet and slip, slidey, slippery goodness in your mouth.

Reach us at:   Marilyn K. Jones DDS      *      Houston’s Biological Dentist *      Address: 800 Bering Dr. Suite 204    *    Phone: (713)785-7767     *     Email: mjones@hal-pc.org