We’ve all experienced dry mouth at some point in our lives, but what causes it?
We don’t mean dry mouth in the sense that you’ve woken up with a hangover or an illness. What we mean is chronic dry mouth. Frequent dry mouth can be a sign of underlying health issues and we want you to be aware of what those issues could be.
It’s common that persistently suffering from it is only dehydration. This means that your body doesn’t have enough fluid to produce saliva, resulting in dry mouth. However, an undiagnosed issue could also cause it. For example:
• Medication – many medications can cause dry mouth. Antidepressants and antihistamines are common culprits. If you’re taking someone new/regularly, check the leaflet for side effects.
• A blocked nose – a blocked nose means you will breath through your mouth more, especially when sleeping. This will cause your mouth to dehydrate but it will pass with the blocked nose.
• Diabetes – this is a lifelong condition that dangerously raises blood sugar levels. Having dry mouth could be an indicator of this condition.
• Radiotherapy – having this conducted on the head or neck area can inflame the salivary glands.
• Sjögren’s syndrome – this is a condition where the immune system attacks and damages the salivary glands. Sjorgren’s can cause dry eyes, dry mouth, and fatigue and joint pain. It can also cause dysfunction on other organs, such as the kidneys, gastrointestinal system, blood vessels, lungs, liver, pancreas and central nervous system.
If you are experiencing dry mouth, you should contact a doctor or a dentist to alert them of the symptoms.
Symptoms of dry mouth itself can also include; a burning or soreness in the mouth, dry lips, halitosis, poor sense of taste, oral thrush, tooth decay, gum disease and difficulty with eating, speaking or swallowing.
Saliva is key to keeping your oral health in good condition. Your level of oral hygiene will be important in your likelihood of developing this condition. You should ensure you are drinking enough fluids on a daily basis, chew sugar free chewing gum to promote production of saliva and avoid anything containing alcohol. Including mouthwashes.
If you feel these measures don’t help your dentist, GP or specialist may suggest using an artificial saliva substitute to keep your mouth moist. It can come in the form of a spray, gel or lozenge. You will have to take it before and during meals to aid you in swallowing. However, if your dry mouth is caused by Sjögren’s syndrome or radiotherapy, pilocarpine may be prescribed. This is taken as a tablet several times a day to help stimulate your salivary glands to produce more saliva.
If you feel you’re suffering from dry mouth and need to contact a medical professional, we suggest you do. If you don’t already have a dentist you visit regularly, you can make use of our listing website to find the perfect dentist near you.