Ok, it’s just throwing around big words. Xerostomia is nothing but Dry Mouth. Seems pretty straightforward, right? But, it isn’t really so.
Dry mouth is due to decreased flow of saliva and can be a sign of an underlying disease, or a cause of many oral issues.
So, why is saliva so important?
Saliva aids in speech, perception of taste, swallowing, early digestion of carbohydrates and protection of the teeth against cavities. Saliva, is also the first line of defence against any microorganisms that enter the body through the mouth.
What causes dry mouth?
The most common cause of a dry mouth is Dehydration, meaning that there isn’t enough fluid in the mouth to create the amount of saliva you need
The most common causes of dehydration include
decreased intake of fluids
having a high fever for extended periods
At times the reason for dry mouth might be other than dehydration. These include
Medications: Certain medications like anti- allergy and antidepressant medicines can cause dry mouth. Do you think your medication is causing dry mouth?Blocked nose:breathing through the mouth while asleep can result in a dry mouth.
Uncontrolled diabetes: Constantly high blood sugar levels increases the chances of infections and dryness in the mouth
Damage to the salivary gland: certain rare autoimmune diseases such as Sjogren’s syndrome damage the salivary gland reducing the salivary flow
Radiotherapy: Exposure of radiation to the head and neck region can cause inflammation of the salivary gland, causing a dry mouth. This effect is reversible and normal salivary flow will resume once the radiation is stopped.
What can a dry mouth cause?
Increased tooth cavities
Higher chances of infection in the mouth
Difficulty in chewing and swallowing
Altered sense of taste
Difficulty in speech
Burning sensation and soreness in the mouth
It is very important to maintain good oral hygiene if you have a dry mouth.
Treatment of dry mouth
If the underlying reason causing your dry mouth is determined, treating this may improve your symptoms.
If medication is the suspected cause, a reduction in your dose or an alternative medication might help.
Some of the conditions might have specific medications like nasal decongestants for a blocked nose or Insulin for diabetes
Other alternatives to combat the effects of dry mouth
Increase the intake of fluids: Dink adequate amount of water and unsweetened liquids.
Reduce the consumption of alcohol (including alcohol-based mouthwashes), soda, caffeine containing drinks as these all increase dehydration.
Reduce and eventually quit smoking: among its other ill effects, smoking also causes a reduced salivary flow.
Chew sugar-free gum as it stimulates salivary glands to produce more saliva
Suck on ice cubes: they help moisten your mouth
These methods generally help. Know a definitive solution for the dryness of your mouth.