Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, is a condition in which a person’s salivary glands do not produce enough saliva. This condition affects about 1 in 4 adults, and it is not only uncomfortable, it can also have serious implications.
Saliva helps you to digest and swallow. Saliva also helps to rinse your mouth of small particles while fighting off potentially damage-causing bacteria. When saliva production is reduced; tooth decay, infections, gingivitis and other oral health issues can occur.
Symptoms of dry mouth:
- a red and dry tongue
- a sticky or dry feeling in the mouth
- blisters and/or sores in the mouth
- a sore throat
- dry nasal passages
- cracked corners of your lips
- bad breath
There are also numerous causes of dry mouth, including:
Dry mouth is a side effect for many commonly perscribed medications.
- Medical treatments
A small number of medical treatments, such as radiation and chemotherapy can damage your salivary glands.
- Medical conditions
Diabetes, autoimmune diseases, anemia and rheumatoid arthritis are just a few of the medical conditions that can cause a reduction in saliva production.
Becoming dehydrated can affect your bodily fluids, including saliva production.
- Nerve Damage
If nerves in your neck or head are damaged your salivary glands may not work properly.
Tobacco products have been linked to dry mouth.
- Open-Mouth Breathing
Habitually breathing with your mouth open can result in dry mouth symptoms.
If you are experiencing any of the discomforts of dry mouth speak to your dentist. Based on your specific symptoms, your dentist can prescribe you with certain rinses, prescriptions or lifestyle changes to help you combat dry mouth and protect your oral health.