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What is Dry Mouth Syndrome

What is Dry Mouth Syndrome?

If you regularly experience a dry mouth, even after drinking plenty of water, it’s possible that you have Dry Mouth Syndrome or Xerostomia. This occurs when your salivary glands don’t produce enough saliva to clean and moisten your mouth. 

Some of the symptoms can include:

  • dry, sticky or burning sensation in your mouth
  • thick or stringy saliva
  • sore throat
  • tongue feels rough or sticks to the roof of your mouth
  • thirst remains after drinking
  • trouble chewing or swallowing, especially dry foods
  • changes to taste or speech
  • bad breath
  • dry or cracked lips
  • mouth ulcers or oral thrush
  • loose dentures

If you are experiencing these symptoms, let us know and we can determine the next steps for you. 

Why does it occur?

Dry Mouth Syndrome can be caused by a number of factors, including:

Medications: Some medications can cause your salivary glands to not function properly. Some of the medications that can affect your glands are:

  •  anti-anxiety medication
  • antidepressants
  • antihistamines
  • blood pressure medication
  • decongestants
  • diuretics
  • muscle relaxants
  • some painkillers and sedatives

Health conditions: Certain health conditions may present dry mouth as a side effect, such as infections, especially mouth infections, diseases, diabetes, kidney failure, to name a few.

Diet and Habits: Certain lifestyle choices may also trigger dry mouth syndrome. Smoking, alcohol and even caffeine can all dry out the mouth and slow saliva flow. Drug use can also cause severe dry mouth. 

Injuries: Surgeries around the neck and head area can leave a lasting impact on salivary glands.

Snoring: Snoring, sleep apnea and mouth breathing can dry out your mouth.

Ageing and hormones: Dry mouth syndrome becomes more common with age. Hormonal changes during pregnancy and menopause can also affect the salivary glands.

Problems it causes

Saliva is more important than we assume. It can help your mouth and overall health.

Tooth Decay and Gum Disease: Saliva flow helps remove left over food from the mouth as well as neutralises acidity which could otherwise erode teeth and cause gum disease. When saliva is produced regularly, it can produce calcium and phosphorus which help build tooth enamel, protecting teeth. 

Prevents Infection: The properties within saliva are antifungal and can help fight infection. Without saliva, you can be at risk of getting mouth sores and oral thrush. 

Diet and Nutrition: Eating is a part of our daily life so we can often overlook the process of eating and digesting. Saliva is a significant part of the eating process, so when you have a dry mouth, eating can become uncomfortable and less enjoyable.

 

Treatment

If you think you are experiencing dry mouth syndrome, come in for an appointment and we can determine the problem and provide a solution. 

Saliva Substitutes:

A saliva substitute or special mouth wash can help improve your symptoms but it might not be able to resolve the primary issue.

Changing medications:

As discussed, certain medications can be part of the problem. If this is the case, it will be best to discuss with your doctor the next best option. 

Treating a Health Problem:

If the cause of dry mouth syndrome is a health issue, the best treatment option is to address the health problem and try to fix it.

Lifestyle Changes:

Sometimes, small and simple changes can make a significant difference. Try cutting down on your intake of tobacco, caffeine and alcohol. If you tend to breathe through your mouth, try to learn how to breathe through your nose instead.  Drinking plenty of water is also an important step to take, this will help maintain the moisture in your mouth and also help your overall health.