If you experience dry mouth you are not alone. Dry mouth is a common problem stemming from a decrease in saliva produced by the salivary glands. It can arise as a side effect of medication or by a condition that directly affects the salivary glands. Proper saliva production is vital because it helps prevent tooth decay by neutralizing acids produced by bacteria and by limiting bacterial growth. Saliva washes away food particles and makes it easier to swallow. Besides enhancing your ability to taste, it also helps digestion.
Symptoms of Dry Mouth
–Thick or stringy saliva
–Having a hard time chewing, speaking and swallowing
–Dryness in the mouth and throat
–An unusual sense of taste
–Difficulty wearing dentures
–More instances of tooth decay
–Irritated gums and gum disease
If you have dry mouth, there are things you can do to help depending on the cause of your symptoms. To stimulate saliva flow, chew sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free hard candies. If you drink a lot of caffeine, this may be exacerbating your dry mouth. Alcohol also is drying so avoid alcohol-based mouthwashes. You can also try a mouthwash designed for dry mouth like Biotene Dry Mouth Oral Rinse or ACT Total Care Dry Mouth Rinse. Chewing or smoking tobacco is notorious for causing dry mouth. If you are using over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants these can make your symptoms worse.
To encourage hydration, sip water throughout the day, and breathe through your nose, not your mouth. If you breathe through your mouth at night, start using a room air humidifier while you sleep.
If these steps don’t help with your dry mouth, see Dr. Nguyen to rule out other conditions. Medications are one of the most common causes of dry mouth. Long-term relief from your dry mouth may mean addressing an underlying health issue, stopping or changing your medication or altering the dosage. If you have any questions or concerns, give our team at Always Dental Family & Cosmetic Care a call at 484.392.7687.