Dental Health and Dry Mouth
What Causes Dry Mouth?
- Side effect of certain medications
- Dry mouth is a common side effect of many prescription and nonprescription drugs, including drugs used to treat depression, anxiety, pain, allergies, and colds (antihistamines and decongestants), obesity, acne, epilepsy, hypertension (diuretics), diarrhea, nausea, psychotic disorders, urinary incontinence, asthma (certain bronchodilators), and Parkinson’s disease. Dry mouth can also be a side effect of muscle relaxants and sedatives
- Side effect of certain diseases and infections
- Side effect of certain medical treatments
- Nerve damage
- Dry mouth can be a result of nerve damage to the head and neck area from an injury or surgery
- Surgical removal of the salivary glands
What Are the Symptoms of Dry Mouth?
- Common symptoms include:
- A sticky, dry feeling in the mouth
- Frequent thirst
- Sores in the mouth; sores or split skin at the corners of the mouth; cracked lips
- A dry feeling in the throat
- A burning or tingling sensation in the mouth and especially on the tongue
- A dry, red, raw tongue
- Problems speaking or trouble tasting, chewing, and swallowing
- Hoarseness, dry nasal passages, sore throat
- Bad breath
Why Is Dry Mouth a Problem?
- Besides causing the symptoms mentioned above, dry mouth also raises your risk of gingivitis (gum disease), tooth decay, and mouth infections, such as thrush
- Dry mouth can also make it hard to wear dentures
How Is Dry Mouth Treated?
- If you think your dry mouth is caused by certain medication you’re taking, talk to your doctor. The doctor may adjust the dose you’re taking or switch you to a different drug that doesn’t cause dry mouth
- The doctor may also prescribe an oral rinse to restore mouth moisture. If that doesn’t help, he or she may prescribe a medication that boosts saliva production called Salagen
You can also try these other steps, which may help improve saliva flow:
- Suck on sugar-free candy or chew sugar-free gum
- Drink plenty of water to help keep your mouth moist
- Brush with a fluoride toothpaste, use a fluoride rinse, and visit your dentist regularly
- Breathe through your nose, not your mouth, as much as possible
- Use a room vaporizer to add moisture to the bedroom air
- Use an over-the-counter artificial saliva substitute