Does your mouth always feel dry like you don't have nearly enough saliva? Do you ever have a problem eating dry food? Is it sometimes difficult to swallow or talk because your mouth is so dry? If you have any of these problems, you may have dry mouth. What is dry mouth? This oral health condition is when your mouth is often times uncomfortably dry. Dry mouth happens when your body does not produce enough saliva to keep your mouth sufficiently moist. A more common problem than you'd suspect, 1 in 4 adults suffer from some degree of dry mouth. The symptoms of dry mouth can be mild or severe and can also cause chronic bad breath and the need to wake up at night for sips of water.
There are a number of causes of dry mouth, however the number one reason for this bothersome condition is medical prescriptions and over the counter medication. Unfortunately if you take prescribed medication on a daily basis you have an increased risk of dry mouth. If you take multiple medications, your risk for dry mouth sky rockets to 50%! Certain diseases like diabetes, anxiety, autoimmune disease, stroke, depression, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's can trigger dry mouth. Chemotherapy and radiation to treat cancer also triggers dry mouth in many cases.
Dry mouth is a condition that needs to be addressed. If untreated, dry mouth can lead to habitual bad breath, and patients with dry mouth have a 3x greater risk to develop cavities. With severe cases of dry mouth, oral discomfort is an ongoing daily dilemma. When your body produces less saliva, you don't have the necessary moisture to help wash away food or bacteria and you are not able to neutralize acids efficiently. Persons with dry mouth tend to have acidic mouths causing food to stick much more easily to teeth and gums. Having low saliva production greatly increases a person's risk of cavities, bad breath and mouth infections. Drinking more water can help, but it isn't really enough to overcome this condition.
Be sure to talk to your dentist if you think you have symptoms of dry mouth, they will be able to help recommend tips and trick and even a daily regimen to help you fight this troublesome condition. There are products including special mouth spry, dry mouth moisturizing lubricants, dry mouth oral rinse and toothpaste, even dry mouth gum to help stimulate the production of saliva. Don't let dry mouth cause oral health issues, talk to your dentist right away.
Posted on the behalf of Dr. Leia Porcaro, Grateful Dental