Xerostomia is a term that refers to a dry mouth caused by decreased or insufficient saliva flow. Although xerostomia is not an illness, it can be a symptom of a range of medical problems, a side effect of head and neck radiation, or a side effect of a range of medicines.
Saliva helps to prevent tooth decay. It helps limit the growth of bacteria and wash out the food particles. Saliva makes it easy to swallow or chew the food and also enhances your taste abilities. A decrease in saliva or dry mouth significantly impacts your teeth health or gums and your general health. It may also have a significant impact on the enjoyment of having food.
Symptoms of Dry Mouth/Xerostomia
If your amount of saliva decreases, you will notice the following signs:
- Firstly, bad breath is a symptom of Dry mouth.
- You feel stickiness or dryness in your mouth.
- You feel a change in tasting abilities.
- You have difficulty in swallowing, chewing, and speaking.
- You have a grooved or dry tongue.
- If you have a dry and sore throat.
- If you have thick and stringy saliva.
Causes of Dry Mouth/Xerostomia
Xerostomia or dry mouth is caused when you have a problem in salivary glands. Some of the leading causes are given below;
Most people suffer from dry mouth as they age. Factors may include the use of some medications. Because of the change in the body’s ability to process medicines, long-term health issues can cause it.
- Cancer Therapy
The production of an amount of saliva changes along with the nature of saliva because of Chemotherapy drugs. This cause is temporary. When the therapy process is completed, it won’t have any cause. Your salivary gland is damaged because of radiation treatment into your neck and head. This cause may be permanent or temporary, depending upon the dose of radiation you have.
Hundreds of the medicines left their side effects like a dry mouth. The medicines used to treat blood pressure, anxiety, depression, etc., leave some of their side effects, the leading cause of dry mouth. Some muscle relaxants, antihistamines, decongestants, and pain killer medications also cause dry mouth.
- Nerve Damage
Some injuries that cause nerve damage to the area, like the neck or head, result in dry mouth or xerostomia.
Treatment of Dry Mouth
- Your doctors also prescribe you the medications to increase saliva production or direct you to some artificial saliva.
- Your doctors may guide you to change your medicines causing dry mouth and suggest you some other medications.
- Avoid taking medicines at night; dry mouth at night may lead to cavities.
- Most avoid your under-tongue forms. Must try easy-to-swallow formulas.
Many people suffer from xerostomia, which affects their quality of life if it isn’t diagnosed and treated on time. Dentists can help patients with xerostomia by providing helpful information about assessment, prevention, and appropriate treatment for xerostomia.
*Neither this nor any other content in this media is meant to prescribe, recommend, or prevent any treatment or procedure. We highly recommend that you get the advice of a qualified dentist or other medical practitioners regarding your specific dental condition.