While it’s common for individuals to deal with dry mouth every now and then, particularly when they are under a lot of stress or nervous, it is not normal to experience dry mouth all the time. In addition to being uncomfortable and bothersome, it can also lead to other dental health problems. Dry mouth, known medically as xerostomia, can be extremely problematic if it occurs as a chronic condition without treatment. It is essential that patients understand that dry mouth can have many different causes, and is not a natural part of aging. Dry mouth can occur when saliva glands do not function properly, and may develop when patients are dealing with:
- Increased levels of stress
- Prescription medications
- Cancer treatments including chemotherapy and radiation
- Autoimmune disorders
- Regular cigarette smoking
When there is not enough saliva in the mouth, patients will often experience:
- Cracked, dry lips
- Dry, sticky feeling in the mouth
- Difficulty in speaking, tasting, swallowing, or even chewing
- A dry throat
- Infections in the mouth (periodontal disease)
- Mouth sores
Saliva is so important, because it helps in keeping the mouth wet and comfortable. It makes it possible to chew and swallow. But it also plays a role in a healthy mouth. Saliva protects the teeth from cavities and also prevents infection, including periodontal disease, from forming by controlling the levels of bacteria in the mouth.
Treatment for dry mouth
If patients have chronic dry mouth, it is important that they work with a professional to find a solution. Medications that list dry mouth as a side effect might be changed or reduced in dosage. Patients might be dealing with dehydration, so sipping water or other appropriate drinks throughout the day can help. Patients should avoid sodas, tea, and coffee which can work against them. Additionally, some patients find that chewing on sugarless gum helps stimulate the flow of saliva and keeps the mouth moisturized. Speaking with a professional is one way to learn more about treatment options that might assist you.
Are you dealing with dry mouth on a daily basis?
It may be time to talk to your dental health provider and discuss ways to treat your condition. Call Dr. Joseph Cavallo and his team in Woodbridge, VA at (703) 490-5888 to request an appointment. The office, conveniently located at 12502-A Lake Ridge Drive, is available for new and current patients.