Causes and Symptoms of Dry Mouth
Definition of Dry Mouth
Dry mouth, or xerostomia, occurs when the salivary glands produce an inadequate amount of saliva to keep the mouth moist. Depending on its cause, dry mouth can either be a minor, temporary inconvenience or it could be indicative of a greater health issue. Regardless of its duration and origin, dry mouth must be treated in a timely manner to ensure that a steady production of saliva resumes quickly.
Importance of Saliva
Saliva helps with chewing, swallowing, and digesting. It’s so very important because it prevents tooth decay by neutralizing acids in bacteria. Saliva also serves as the first line of defense for the body. By neutralizing acids in bacteria, it helps prevent microbial invasions. When saliva production decreases, your entire body, especially your mouth, are more vulnerable to infections. Treatment for dry mouth depends on the cause. If you choose to see a doctor, try to pinpoint one or more of the following causes below.
Possible causes of dry mouth:
Medication: While there are hundreds of over-the-counter drugs that can cause dry mouth, the most common are those that treat anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, anxiety, and general pain.
Aging: Older folks experience dry mouth more often simply because of their age. Poor nutrition and other long-term health problems may also contribute in aging adults.
Nerve damage: Injuries/surgeries to the head/neck may cause dry mouth.
Recreational drug use: Marijuana and methamphetamines may cause dry mouth. Consistent use of these drugs may lead to serious tooth decay, resulting in a condition known as “meth mouth.”
Tobacco and alcohol use: Chewing tobacco and alcohol consumption can cause/increase dry mouth symptoms.
Other health conditions: It’s possible that your situation doesn’t fit into any of the previously listed causes. Other health conditions in which dry mouth is a side effect are: diabetes, stroke, yeast infection, Alzheimer’s disease, HIV/AIDS, or even snoring.
Dry Mouth Symptoms
- Dry/sticky mouth
- Bad breath
- Difficulty in chewing/swelling
- Dry throat and hoarseness
- Problems wearing dentures
Dentistry At Somerset Can Help
Dry mouth if not handled quickly can lead to more serious health conditions. Dentistry At Somerset in Ames has treated hundreds of patients with these symptoms. Call 515-817-1493 to schedule an appointment today.