Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, is the result of the mouth not producing enough saliva. We can help you treat this condition as part of our general dentistry at Dental Health of Fianna in Fort Smith, AR.
What Causes Dry Mouth?
Dry mouth occurs when the salivary glands in your mouth don’t produce enough saliva to keep your mouth moist. There are several potential reasons your salivary glands may not be working properly including:
Dry mouth is a common side effect of many medications, both over-the-counter and prescription. Medications that are more likely to cause dry mouth are those that are used to treat depression, anxiety, and high blood pressure. Some antihistamines, muscle relaxants, decongestants, and pain medications have also been known to contribute to dry mouth.
Dry mouth is often experienced by older people as they age. Contributing factors include changes in the way the body processes medications, the use of certain medications, inadequate nutrition, and the presence of long-term health issues.
An injury to a person’s head or neck area, as well as surgery of the head or neck can also result in dry mouth.
Those who are undergoing cancer therapy commonly experience dry mouth. Chemotherapy drugs can alter the consistency of saliva as well as the amount of saliva produced. This is often temporary, with salivary production returning to normal after the completion of treatment.
Radiation treatments to the head and neck can also cause a decrease in the amount of saliva produced, as the result of damage to salivary glands. Depending on the dose of radiation and the area being treated, this can be temporary or permanent.
Tobacco, Alcohol, or Recreational Drug Use
The use of tobacco products and the consumption of alcohol can increase symptoms of dry mouth. Using methamphetamine can also cause severe dry mouth and tooth damage. Marijuana has also been known to cause dry mouth.
Other Health Conditions
Dry mouth can also be a symptom of certain health conditions such as stroke, diabetes, yeast infection in the mouth, or Alzheimer’s disease. It can also be caused by autoimmune diseases like Sjogren’s syndrome or HIV/AIDS. Constantly breathing with your mouth open or snoring can also contribute to dry mouth.
Symptoms of Dry Mouth
There are numerous potential reasons your mouth isn’t producing enough saliva. If you notice any of the following symptoms, be sure to mention it to us during your next appointment:
- Dryness or a sticky feeling in your mouth
- Saliva that feels thick and stringy
- Bad breath
- Difficulty speaking, chewing, or swallowing
- Dry or sore throat and hoarseness
- Dry or grooved tongue
- Problems wearing dentures
- A change in your sense of taste
If you are tired of living with the uncomfortable symptoms of dry mouth, contact Dental Health of Fianna today to schedule an appointment. We will examine your mouth, determine the cause of your symptoms, and come up with a treatment plan that will work for you.