What is dry mouth?
Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, is a condition in which the salivary glands in your mouth don’t make enough saliva to keep your mouth wet. Dry mouth can be caused by a variety of factors, including certain medications, medical conditions, and lifestyle choices.
What causes dry mouth?
Some common causes of dry mouth include:
- Certain medications, such as antidepressants, antihistamines, and diuretics
- Medical conditions, such as diabetes, Sjogren’s syndrome, and cancer
- Radiation therapy to the head and neck
- Mouth breathing
What are the symptoms of dry mouth?
Some common symptoms of dry mouth include:
- A dry or sticky feeling in the mouth
- Thick or stringy saliva
- Difficulty chewing, speaking, and swallowing
- Dry or sore throat and hoarseness
- Dry or grooved tongue
- A changed sense of taste
- Problems wearing dentures
If you don’t have enough saliva and develop dry mouth, this can lead to:
- Increase plaque, tooth decay, and gum disease.
- Mouth sores
- Yeast infection in your mouth (thrush)
- Sores or split skin at the corner of your mouth, or cracked lips
- Poor nutrition from having problems with chewing and swallowing.
What are the causes of dry mouths?
Dry mouth is caused when the salivary glands in the mouth don’t make enough saliva to keep your mouth wet. These glands may not work properly as the result of:
- Medications: Hundreds of drugs, including over-the-counter medications, can cause dry mouth as a side effect. Common culprits include antidepressants, high blood pressure medications, anxiety medications, antihistamines, decongestants, muscle relaxants, and pain medications.
- Aging: Many older adults experience dry mouth due to medication use, changes in medication processing, poor nutrition, and long-term health problems.
- Cancer therapy: Chemotherapy drugs can alter saliva composition and production, temporarily or permanently, depending on radiation dose and area treated. Radiation to the head and neck can damage salivary glands, leading to a significant decrease in saliva production.
- Nerve damage: Injury or surgery that damages nerves in the head and neck can cause dry mouth.
- Other health conditions: Dry mouth can be caused by diabetes, stroke, yeast infection (thrush), Alzheimer’s disease, autoimmune diseases (such as Sjögren’s syndrome or HIV/AIDS), snoring, and mouth breathing.
- Tobacco and alcohol use: Drinking alcohol and smoking or chewing tobacco can worsen dry mouth symptoms.
- Recreational drug use: Methamphetamine use can cause severe dry mouth and tooth damage, known as “meth mouth.” Marijuana can also cause dry mouth.
Talk to your dentist
If you have any questions or concerns about having dry mouth, be sure to talk to your dentist. They can help you develop a personalized treatment plan that is safe and effective for your individual needs. Or you can contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help you with your dental needs. https://calendly.com/sbenatidentistry/interview
For more videos: