Do you feel like sometimes feel that your mouth does not have any lubrication whatsoever, and it feels like a dry cave? It will feel like all the saliva has gone and left and there is not enough to go around? In cases like this drinking water and chewing gum sometimes helps, but if you have been experiencing a dry mouth that lasts for weeks, or even months, you could be suffering from a Dry Mouth.
Dry mouth is exactly what it says- it is a condition that occurs when saliva is not in sufficient quantity in the mouth. It happens when saliva has significantly decreased production. Dry mouth is also commonly known as Xerostomia and this occurs in about 10 percent of the whole population, and occurs more often for older people -25 percent of them suffer from it. Saliva is a very important factor in our mouth. It cleanses and moistens our mouth and helps in digesting the food that we eat. It also regulates the fungi and bacteria in the mouth and prevents infection. When saliva decreases and production is halted, the mouth gets uncomfortable and dry. The person afflicted has trouble speaking and may also lead to loss of weight due to malnutrition. Extreme cases of Xerostomia can produce permanent throat and mouth disorders and definitely impairs a person’s well-being and quality of life. This sounds all dreary but the good thing is that a dry mouth is not a disease but are symptoms of underlying problems or causes. Your local Battle Creek dentist will be able to help you out if you think you have chronic dry mouth.
There are a lot of causes to have Dry Mouth. The prescription drugs and medications a person is taking can be one of them. There are approximately 600 of them that can cause Dry Mouth and includes high blood pressure drugs, decongestants, antidepressants, antihistamines, analgesic and some illegal ones such as cocaine. A viral or bacterial infection of the salivary glands can cause inflammation and restrict production of saliva. Nerve problems also play a part as our facial nerves control the saliva gland’s production. Surgery or even injury can severely affect this control over the glands. Chemotherapy or radiotherapy, if directed at the neck or head, can temporarily stop the flow of saliva. Some diseases can also affect the salivary glands negatively, such as cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s disease, lupus, AIDS and diabetes. Even something as common as dehydration causes Dry Mouth- too little water or fluids can cause a thick saliva and eventually, Dry Mouth. It may also come from medical conditions like chronic diarrhea, blood loss or kidney failure. Breathing through the mouth as a habit, or even prolonged smoking or chewing tobacco also affects how saliva is produced.
If you have Dry Mouth or Xerostomia these are some of the common symptoms:
-Saliva that feels stringy or thick
-The tongue sticks abnormally in the roof of the mouth
-Bad breath and mouth ulcers
-An alarming rate of tooth decay
-A dry and rough tongue
-Pronounced problems with swallowing and chewing
-Cracked and dry lips
-A burning and prickly sensation in the mouth
These symptoms may not only occur exclusively in the mouth but may appear in other parts as well. Unexplained weight loss, a general feeling of being unwell, dry throat or nose and a reduced sense of smell all give warnings that a person may be suffering from dry mouth.