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Dry Mouth

dry-mouthThe mouth gets dry quite often, and this can be brought about by hypohydration, stress, or just a simple reduction in the flow of saliva.

It is often temporary, but when it persists, then, it becomes a source of concern to the individual.

The salivary gland is responsible for the production of saliva, which keeps the mouth moist. Whenever there is a problem with the salivary gland in which it no longer produces saliva typically, xerostomia (persistent mouth dryness) sets-in.

Saliva plays a crucial role in the mouth; when there is a lack of saliva in the mouth, it could result in difficulty in eating, tasting, or swallowing. Saliva also counteracts the effects of acids produced by oral bacteria, thereby preventing tooth decay and bad breath as a dry mouth causes halitosis.

Possible Causes of Dry Mouth

There are several possible causes for xerostomia, including:

  • The use of some particular drug could lead to xerostomia as the US surgeon general reported that there are over 500 drugs that could cause dry mouth.
  • Some of the drugs known to have this effect include antihistamines, diuretics, antidepressants, and some chemotherapy medications.
  • Individuals who undergo head and neck radiation stand a chance of having their salivary gland permanently damaged. This means that there will be no production of saliva which will, in turn, result in extreme dry mouth.
  • Certain non-localized infections can cause dry mouth. For instance, Sjögren’s syndrome is a disease that makes the body destroy its moisture-producing glands. AIDS, cystic fibrosis, Parkinson’s disease could also cause dry mouth.
  • Any compromise to the nerves associated with salivary gland could lead to dry mouth.
Possible Solutions for Dry Mouth

If you are always on drugs that cause dry mouth, your doctor could recommend alternatives. Perhaps you could also use the following:

  • As far as the salivary gland is not completely damaged, chewing sugarless gum could cause the salivary gland to produce more saliva. Gums containing xylitol are excellent substitutes for sugar gums as they do not cause tooth decay.
  • Avoid substances/food that are dry and could cause irritation.
  • Smoking causes the mouth to get dry while also increasing your chances of getting gum infection.
  • Staying in cool places, especially at night, could help.
  • Drinking water regularly will help to increase the moisture in your mouth.
  • Taking sugary and acidic drinks could increase your chances of getting tooth decay; therefore, they should be avoided.
  • Use of oral fluids and saliva stimulants would increase moisture in the mouth.
  • Good oral hygiene would remove accumulated bacteria and ensure that the mouth is in a healthy state.
  • Always implore the services of a professional dentist when you start noticing these developments as they are better equipped to provide the best recommendations and solutions.
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