Effective Tips to Beat Dry Mouth
Have you ever experienced a dry mouth? If you have, you probably know how uncomfortable and frustrating it can be. From medication to dehydration, there are many factors that can cause dry mouth, which can significantly affect your daily life. Whether you’re experiencing it for the first time or dealing with it frequently, it’s important to understand the condition and how to treat it. In this blog, we’ll talk about some of the best ways to treat dry mouth and maintain optimal oral health. So, keep reading to learn more!
What is Dry Mouth?
Dry mouth (also known as xerostomia) is a condition that occurs when your mouth doesn’t produce enough saliva. Saliva, which is produced by the salivary glands in your mouth and throat, plays an important role in maintaining oral health. It helps digest food, protects teeth from decay, prevents infection by neutralising and controlling bacteria in the mouth, and makes chewing and swallowing easy. To put it simply, saliva is a lifesaver!
Now, let’s look at the factors that can disrupt the production of saliva and result in a dry mouth.
What Causes Dry Mouth?
-Drugs and medication
-Inflammation as a result of bacterial or viral infection of the salivary glands
-Blockages in the salivary duct
-Medical conditions such as AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, lupus, and diabetes.
-Nerve damage to the head or neck
-Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy (if directed at the head or neck)
-Breathing through the mouth
-Anxiety and stress
Alright, so now we know the causes of dry mouth. But, before we move on to treatment options, it is also important to know the symptoms so you know when to seek treatment.
Symptoms of Dry Mouth
Symptoms of dry mouth include:
-difficulty speaking, eating or swallowing
-saliva feeling thick
-a sore throat
-dry or cracked lips
-a hoarse voice
-dry and itchy eyes
How to Treat Dry Mouth?
If you experience any of the above symptoms, we recommend you schedule a consultation with one of our friendly, experienced dentists. This will allow our dentist the opportunity to identify the underlying cause of dry mouth. In order to do so, our dentist may perform an examination of your mouth and teeth, order certain tests and imaging to see if the salivary glands are functioning properly, and review your medical history and symptoms. After identifying the cause of dry mouth, our dentist will then recommend the best treatment option for you.
While the treatment plan depends on the cause, it generally includes the following:
Changes to medication – in some cases, changing your medicine can be the easiest way to fix dry mouth syndrome. But, you should not make any changes to your medication without consulting the doctor who prescribed it to you. If your medicine is causing dry mouth, ask your doctor to change the dosage or prescribe an alternate medication. Additionally, our dentist may also recommend medications that help to stimulate salivary glands to produce saliva.
Saliva substitutes – also called ‘oral moisturisers’, saliva substitutes will help keep your mouth moist. When using a saliva substitute, make sure to use it as directed by our dentist.
Dry mouth products – dry mouth products include products such as toothpaste, mouthwash, gums and topical gels that are specially formulated to help with dry mouth. Our dentists will recommend dry mouth products when you visit us.
Medical products – if dry mouth is caused as a result of existing medical conditions, it should be treated with appropriate medication. In the case of an infection, antibiotics and anti-fungal drugs will be used to treat it.
Surgery – if salivary gland blockages cause dry mouth, minor surgery may be needed to treat it.
Tips for Living with Dry Mouth
If you are experiencing dry mouth, there are a few things you can do as part of your daily routine in addition to the treatment options mentioned above. These include simple yet effective measures, such as:
-sipping water regularly
-avoiding sugary and acidic foods and drinks
-rinsing your mouth with water after eating
-chewing sugar-free gum to stimulate the production of saliva
-avoiding substances such as cigarettes, alcohol and spicy foods that can increase dryness
-trying to breathe through your nose instead of your mouth
-following a proper oral hygiene routine that includes daily brushing, flossing and regular dental checkups
-treating dry lips with a greasy balm
-Use a humidifier in your room to keep the air moist
From simple lifestyle changes to more advanced dental treatments, we offer a range of solutions for dry mouth. Our friendly team of dental professionals is committed to helping you achieve optimal oral health. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and learn more about how we can help you manage dry mouth.