Have you ever felt so completely parched that your mouth felt like a desert? It can make speaking, eating, and even swallowing seriously uncomfortable. This happens to some people more often than others. It’s known as xerostomia, or dry mouth, and is the result of not having enough saliva in your mouth. Let’s take a closer look as your dentist in Orange Park explores dry mouth in more detail.
Causes of Dry Mouth
Sometimes, dry mouth might be the result of not hydrating after recent exercise, or simply not sipping enough water throughout the day. More often than not, however, dry mouth is the side effect of a medication. In fact, the Academy of General Dentistry estimates that more than 400 medications list dry mouth as a side effect, including antidepressants, antihistamines, and certain pain medications.
If you have chronic dry mouth, it might be a sign of a serious health condition, like diabetes, alcoholism, salivary gland cancer, or HIV/AIDS. In addition, people undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer frequently deal with dry mouth as a side effect.
Effects of Constant Dry Mouth
In general, you’ll want as much saliva in your mouth as you can get. This is because saliva helps wash away excess bits of food and bacteria in the mouth. Without it, these particles stay in the mouth and increase your risk of problems like gum disease, tooth decay, and bad breath.
According to the American Dental Association, constant dry mouth can lead to a fungal infection commonly known as oral thrush. This manifests as white spots on the tongue. Dry mouth can also lead to a condition called burning mouth syndrome, which is as unpleasant as it sounds.
How to Prevent These Problems
To keep from developing any complications from dry mouth, follow these tips:
- Sip water throughout the day
- Chew sugar-free gum, especially after a meal or snack
- Suck on sugarless candy
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, cigarettes, and salty and dry food
Furthermore, it’s never a bad idea to visit your dentist, especially if your dry mouth lasts for several days at a time. Depending on how your general health is doing, your dentist may recommend an artificial saliva product to reduce your chances of tooth decay. Moreover, it’s a good idea to maintain an excellent oral hygiene regimen with regular brushing and flossing to prevent problems that may arise from insufficient saliva flow.
If you find yourself feeling parched more often than normal, let your dentist or doctor know and they can come up with a personalized treatment plan for you.
About the Author
Dr. Natasha Patel attended dental school in India before moving to the United States and entering the prestigious Nova Southeastern University School of Dental Medicine. She takes pride in coming up with personalized treatment plans for each and every one of her patients in the Orange Park, FL community. If you are experiencing dry mouth, you can contact Dr. Patel here or call (904) 278-9011.