What is Xerostomia?
Xerostomia may also be referred to as dry mouth. It pertains to any condition that results in a mouth that is extremely dry or feels very dry.
What is the Cause?
A common cause of dry mouth or dry mouth symptoms is due to reduced salivary flow. Reduced salivary flow can be caused by impediment in salivary gland function. Medications that are prescribed or purchased over the counter produce dry mouth as a side effect. Radiation treatment and cancer treatment medications also produce side effects that cause dry mouth. Using tobacco products will also result in dry mouth symptoms.
Dry Mouth Side Effects
The side effects of dry mouth can be mild or severe enough to impact your oral and general health if left untreated. When saliva flow is reduced, the cleansing function performed by saliva is no longer efficient. This results in food particles that are left behind in the mouth and in between teeth. If they are not removed, they can contribute to dental decay. Saliva also aids in your ability to taste foods and make swallowing food easier. Digestive function is also hampered due to a lack of enzymes that help with digestion found in saliva.
Dry Mouth Treatment
Treatment is dependent on the cause of the dry mouth. If the side effects of certain medications are the cause, your doctor may recommend an alternate medication. Medication may also be prescribed that aids in increased saliva production.
Oral moisturising products or artificial saliva products can also be used to help add moisture to the mouth. Application of topical fluoride may also be used in order to strengthen the teeth against forming dental decay.
Self-Care and Home Remedies
If your dry mouth symptoms are not frequent or severe in nature, you can try some home remedies. Increasing your intake of water by sipping on it throughout the day will help to keep your mouth moisturised. Chewing gum that is sugar-free will help to stimulate saliva production as well.
Focus on breathing through your nose and avoid breathing through your mouth. Using a humidifier in your room or house is another good way to add moisture to the air. Avoid or limit use of caffeine and alcohol products also contributes to a dry mouth.
If you experience dry mouth symptoms often, talk to your dentist or doctor about your symptoms. It is better to seek treatment right away before any potential issues arise.