Main Street Dental Clinics News

Dry Mouth? Causes and Solutions


Dry mouth is a condition that is also referred to as xerostomia. This occurs when your salivary glands can't make an efficient amount of saliva to keep your mouth comfortably wet. There are several symptoms and causes that can contribute to increased dryness in the mouth. There are also ways to successfully treat this particular condition.

What are the Symptoms of a Dry Mouth?

According to the Mayo Clinic, there are several specific symptoms associated with this condition that you may experience.

  • Consistently experiencing bad breath is sometimes a sign of a mouth that's too dry.
  • If you're experiencing difficulty speaking, chewing or swallowing it could be because of excessive dryness.
  • Thick or stringy saliva in your mouth is also an indication of extra dryness.
  • You might have feelings of stickiness in the mouth when suffering from a dry mouth.
  • Extra dryness could result in experiencing hoarseness or a sore throat.
  • If you're having problems wearing dentures or if other dental devices are suddenly not fitting, your mouth may be becoming dry.
  • Excessive dryness sometimes results in a changed sense of how things taste.

What are the Causes of a Dry Mouth?

Medical News Today states that there are several factors that can cause you to experience a dry mouth.

  • Certain Medications - Some medications may cause your mouth to become dry. Prescriptions for high blood pressure, urinary incontinence, Parkinson's disease and muscle relaxants can all contribute to this condition.
  • Medical Conditions - Some health conditions can affect salivary glands and moisture levels in the mouth. A few include snoring, diabetes, Parkinson's, HIV, anxiety and depression.
  • Surgery & Injury - If nerves in the head or the neck are damaged during surgery or because of an injury, this can affect saliva in the mouth.
  • Cancer Therapies - Certain cancer therapies such as chemotherapy may contribute to dryness. Radiation therapy, especially to the neck and head area, may damage salivary glands.

How Can You Treat a Dry Mouth?

If you're experiencing excessive dryness on a regular basis, it's important to find a treatment that works for your specific condition. Since enough saliva in the mouth helps prevent problems with the teeth, excessive dryness can lead to dental decay. Adequate saliva also aids in the digestive process. There are several steps you can take to increase moisture and reduce dryness. The Cleveland Clinic discusses several ways to treat dry mouth.

1. Prevent Tooth Decay - Keeping your teeth as clean and healthy as possible is extremely important when treating or preventing this condition. You should try to brush and floss after each meal to keep your mouth moist and clean. Good dental hygiene is crucial to preventing several other serious health conditions as well.

2. Treat Medical Conditions - It's important to effectively treat all underlying medical conditions. Since medications taken to treat certain conditions cause the tissues in the mouth to dry out, your physician may be able to prescribe an alternative.

3. Increase Saliva Flow - Your doctor or dentist may be able to recommend products that contain artificial saliva. There are both over-the-counter as well as prescription medications available.

4. Change Your Habits - Increasing water consumption and quitting smoking are both ways to improve this particular condition. It's also important to limit alcohol, caffeine and salty foods. You may want to use a humidifier in your home to keep the air moist.

If you're suffering from a chronic dry mouth you may want to ask your dentist about possible solutions. Request an appointment at one of Main Street Dental’s five locations for a free exam and x-rays to diagnose any dry mouth symptoms.

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