What You Should Know About Dry Mouth

April 22, 2016
April 22, 2016

Waking up in the middle of the night thirsty is one thing, but dry mouth – also known as xerostomia – is quite another. This condition can occur for a variety of reasons. Nailing down the cause is an essential part of finding the right treatment. If you think you may suffer from dry mouth, read on to learn more.

Symptoms

If you have been experiencing frequent thirst accompanied by a dry, even sticky feeling in your mouth, you may have xerostomia. Other common symptoms include the following:

  • A tongue that is red, raw or dry
  • Dryness in the throat
  • Sores in the mouth or at the corners of the mouth
  • Dry and cracked lips
  • Tingling or burning on the tongue or in the mouth

Someone with xerostomia may also have difficulty speaking, chewing, swallowing or even tasting food. Bad breath is another symptom of the condition.

Causes

Ordinarily, you produce a certain amount of saliva to keep your mouth moisturized. If you have dry mouth, you are not producing enough saliva. This is a major issue because saliva is one of the best defenses you have when it comes to tooth decay. It also fights off disease in your mouth.

If you approach our Charlotte dentist with symptoms related to dry mouth, we will try to determine why your saliva flow is subpar. One of the most common reasons is that you are taking a medication that has a side effect of dry mouth. Both prescription and nonprescription drugs can have this effect. Medications used for pain, allergies, depression, acne, epilepsy, hypertension and even asthma could trigger dry mouth.

Another cause is that there is an underlying medical condition, such as diabetes, anemia, stroke, rheumatoid arthritis or mumps. Or, if you have recently had some type of medical treatment, like chemotherapy or radiation, you may develop dry mouth.

This is why it is so important to discuss your medical history with your dentist. If we can determine that a medication or medical condition is causing the dry mouth, we can better develop a comprehensive solution.

Lastly, your lifestyle choices could lead to dry mouth. People who smoke or use chewing tobacco may be at an increased risk of developing the issue. These behaviors can affect how much saliva you make or enhance a condition that is causing dry mouth.

Treatment

The treatment for your dry mouth will largely depend on the cause. For example, if it is a medication, your doctor could end up switching prescriptions or placing you on a lower dose. There are also at-home remedies, such as drinking plenty of water, breathing through your nose instead of your mouth and using a vaporizer in your bedroom to increase the moisture in the air.

If you suspect you have dry mouth, please contact us so we can help you find some comfort.

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