Dry mouth is a common condition, and it is one which many people express concern about. If you’re one of the 10% of people who experience a persistent dry mouth and throat, it is possible you may have xerostomia which is also known as dry mouth syndrome. This condition is most commonly caused by the side effects of medication and/or the ageing process, which causes the salivary glands to become less effective at producing saliva. It’s important to note that dry mouth can also occur due to other reasons, so you should aim to schedule a consultation with your dentist as soon as possible if you have any concerns. In this blog post, Sydney Park Dental will be highlighting the symptoms, causes and treatment options available for dry mouth.
Temporary Dry Mouth Vs Xerostomia
It’s normal for people to experience a dry mouth on occasion, particularly if you are dehydrated. In this case, you should notice saliva production start to improve following consumption of water. If this does not occur, or if you’ve been experiencing a dry mouth and throat for an extended period, it is possible you may have xerostomia.
Symptoms of Dry Mouth
Healthy salivary glands produce a sufficient amount of saliva to keep your mouth, throat and lips lubricated. Saliva plays an important role within your mouth, as it helps to shift stuck food particles, neutralise acids to lower your risk of tooth decay, assist in the digestion process, prevent infection, and keep your mouth comfortable.
If the saliva production process is impaired, you may notice some of the following symptoms:
- Dry mouth, tongue and lips
- Sore throat
- Bad breath
- Difficulty consuming food
- Feeling thirsty even after drinking
- Saliva which is thick or stringy
- Mouth ulcers
- A tingling feeling within your mouth
Most Common Causes of Dry Mouth
People often assume that dry mouth is only an issue for older people, but it can actually occur in people of all ages. Whilst it is normal for the ageing process to result in decreased salivary secretion, there are a number of other factors which can contribute to dry mouth, such as:
- Dehydration – People who do not drink enough water may experience dry mouth. You should aim to consume at least 2 litres of water daily.
- Prescription Medication – It is possible for prescription medications to cause dry mouth, with some common medications including antidepressants, anti-anxiety medication, antihistamines, muscle relaxants, painkillers, sedatives, diuretics and blood pressure medication. You should discuss your symptoms with your doctor.
- Chronic Health Conditions – Diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, lupus and some autoimmune diseases to name a few are believed to contribute to dry mouth.
- Smoking – People who smoke cigarettes, cigars and pipes often show signs of reduced saliva flow, with some experiencing persistent dry mouth. This is caused by the chemicals within tobacco smoke. If you smoke, it is important to maintain good oral hygiene practices and drink plenty of water.
- Chemotherapy – If you are undergoing treatment for cancer, the chemotherapy drugs can temporarily impede saliva production.
- Injury – if you’ve sustained a serious injury around the head or neck region, it is possible that your salivary glands were also damaged.
- Coffee – beverages with a high caffeine content such as coffee are known to have a drying effect when consumed in large quantities.
Is Dry Mouth Treatable?
In many cases, it is possible to improve your symptoms by making some simple lifestyle changes. Those who suffer from persistent dry mouth may consider the use of artificial saliva substitutes, or potentially even surgery to restore salivary gland function. It is important to firstly ascertain the cause for your dry mouth, so you should schedule a consultation with your doctor and dentist at your earliest convenience. Your dentist will be able to advise an appropriate treatment and monitor your progress.
Schedule an Appointment at Sydney Park Dental Today
Dry mouth is a common problem, and it’s something the team at Sydney Park Dental have a wealth of experience with. If you’ve been suffering from a persistent dry mouth, please call today on 02 8084 7170 to schedule an appointment.