Perhaps you’ve noticed a dry, sticky feeling in your mouth, or maybe you have trouble swallowing because your throat feels dry and itchy. Though it’s common to experience dry mouth when one is nervous or under pressure, having a dry mouth on a regular basis is detrimental to a person’s oral and dental health. That’s why dental professionals spend ample time educating patients on the signs and symptoms of dry mouth, as well as the dangers associated with it.
MedlinePlus lists the following symptoms of dry mouth, which is medically referred to as Xerostomia:
- Sticky or dry sensation in the mouth
- Trouble chewing, swallowing, tasting or speaking
- Burning feeling in the mouth
- Dry throat
- Cracked lips
- Dry, rough tongue
- Mouth sores
- Infection in the mouth
While treatment for dry mouth depends on its cause, the good news is that it is manageable when patients have the right information and tools. For temporary relief of dry mouth symptoms, the Mayo Clinic recommends chewing sugar-free gum, limiting caffeine intake, avoiding mouthwashes containing alcohol and drinking plenty of water. Over the counter products such as Biotene and Oasis Moisturizing Spray are also helpful. Even so, long-term relief for dry mouth requires identifying its source.
Surprising to some, dry mouth is not a normal part of aging. Rather, it is often caused by medications, as well as underlying health conditions. Antihistamines, blood pressure medicine, decongestants, antidepressants, diuretics and muscle relaxers are a few medications that impact saliva production. Furthermore, individuals with diabetes, nerve disorders, salivary gland diseases, Sjogren’s syndrome, HIV/AIDS, as well as those receiving radiation therapy and chemotherapy for cancer may also experience dry mouth.
Without question, saliva plays a critical role in washing away food particles and harmful bacteria, and that’s why those with untreated dry mouth often experience tooth decay and periodontal gum disease. Fortunately, a qualified and experienced dentist can help equip patients in combating the affects of dry mouth.
Dr. Leia Porcaro places a high value on preventative dentistry and helping patients achieve optimal oral health. As such, she understands the impact of dry mouth and other health conditions, as they relate to oral and dental health. If you are experiencing dry mouth, and it’s been some time since you’ve visited a dentist, do not wait. Dr. Porcaro and the team at Grateful Dental welcome your call today.