Having a dry mouth can be uncomfortable, but you can usually solve this problem by drinking water. However, xerostomia, a condition that causes sufferers to experience constant dry mouth, does affect some of the population. Many of the causes of xerostomia are relatively benign, but it can be a cause for concern in certain situations. If you have been suffering from a chronic dry mouth, there are several reasons as to why it may be happening.
Dehydration is the most common cause of dry mouth, and fortunately, it is easily fixed. When your body is not properly hydrated, your mouth becomes dry, which signals that it is time to drink some water. If you have been sweating from working out or if you have simply failed to stay hydrated that day, fill a glass with water and drink up!
Another extremely common cause of persistent dry mouth is the use of certain medications. Medications can have certain pharmacologic effects that both reduce your ability to produce saliva and cause overall dehydration. The medications that are most likely to cause dry mouth are generally those that are used to treat anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, and allergies. Muscle relaxers and painkillers are also known to have dry mouth as a common side effect.
Many people suffer from dry mouth more and more as they age. This increase can be simply because the body is changing, or it could have to do with long term use of medication or other more serious health problems.
ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO USE
Alcohol is a diuretic that can lead to dehydration very quickly. Dehydration causes your mouth to become dry during and after the consumption of alcohol. When combined with tobacco use, this effect can become even more severe. The nicotine in tobacco reduces your saliva flow, which can exacerbate an already dry mouth. The best way to combat dry mouth caused by tobacco use is to quit smoking entirely. If you do drink alcohol, try to alternate every drink for a bottle or glass of water over the course of the night.
Injuries that cause nerve damage in your head or neck can also lead to dry mouth. Certain nerves in these areas control the production of saliva, and if they are not functioning properly,you may experience reduced saliva production and a dry mouth.
PROBLEMS WITH DRY MOUTH
A dry mouth may seem like a minor inconvenience, but it can lead to several bigger problems. Having proper saliva production protects your tooth enamel. A dry mouth can lead to dental problems such as gingivitis, tooth decay, and mouth infections.
TREATING DRY MOUTH
In addition to drinking more water, there are a few additional ways to promote proper saliva production. These include chewing sugar free gum, brushing with fluoride toothpaste, and using a humidifier in your room. You should always visit us if you feel that your dry mouth is becoming a problem.
To determine specific causes and solutions for your dry mouth, schedule an appointment at Methodist Dental to discuss any dental issues that you may have!