What causes dry mouth? How do you cope with it?
We have all had dry mouth at one time or another. Maybe it occurred when we had to stand up and speak to a group of people. Or maybe it was accompanied by thirst that simply couldn’t be quenched. Here are some of the questions that you can ask yourself to determine whether or not you truly suffer from dry mouth:
Do you have difficulty with swallowing or speaking?
Does you tongue often feel like shoe leather?
Do you constantly sip liquids in order to swallow foods?
Does it seem as if you have too little saliva?
Do you wake up with dry or sticky mouth?
Dry mouth is a condition that may be an indication or symptom of other conditions. Because the treatment of dry mouth is not as simple as drinking water, it’s important to understand its origins or implications.
A number of diseases are directly associated with dry mouth. They include Alzheimer’s disease, Addison’s disease, diabetes, depression and uncontrolled high blood pressure. With that understanding, it is important to understand the risks associated with dry mouth and steps that you can take to mitigate its effects.
Three types of causes will create dry mouth, including medications, diseases mentioned above and damage to salivary glands. No matter what the cause, treatments are available to protect you from the gum disease and tooth decay that are consequences of dry mouth.
From the preventive standpoint, regular brushing and flossing are crucial. Use fluoride toothpaste that will assist with reducing susceptibility to bacterial causing tooth decay. Be certain to visit your dental provider on a regular basis, advising him or her of your dry mouth condition. That provider may elect to add fluoride to your dental office regimen.
You may also be instructed to add artificial saliva to your oral hygiene program. Many artificial saliva products are available over the counter and can be quite effective in addressing your dry mouth. Prescription drugs are another option, with new medical alternatives being researched and introduced on an ongoing basis.
Take an active role in minimizing the effects of your dry mouth. This can be done through a number of quite simple means. Drink water frequently and have it nearby to keep your mouth moist. Suck on sugar-free hard candies, chew sugar-free gum and have ice chips or popsicles available. Add moisture to your foods with gravies, broths or juices. And avoid salty foods and alcohol, both of which contribute to dry mouth, as do acidic fluids such as fruit juices.
Above all, remember that dry mouth is not merely a precursor to bad breath. The lack of saliva has potential consequences in the form of tooth decay, gum disease and fungal or viral infections. Consult your dental professional and your physician for a thorough understanding of dry mouth and its connection to your overall health.
With careful attention to diet, oral hygiene, routine dental care and general good sense about the treatment of dry mouth, you can be responsible for substantial effects. Your medications or medical conditions may be the causes, but you can be the most effective element in reducing effects.
By Daniel Subbotin BSc, BA, DD
Learn more about denture dry mouth or if you have any dental concerns, feel free to contact EPICITI Mobile Dental Care. House call denture clinic services and dental cleaning services in home are available for seniors in nursing homes, retirement homes, long-term care centres, hospitals and residential homes. Remember, we come to you.