Sometimes if we’re dehydrated or have a case of the nerves, we’ll experience a short case of dry mouth, and this is definitely okay. However, if you find yourself constantly dealing with having a dry and parched-feeling mouth, it’s time to talk to your dentist. There are multiple causes for dry mouth, so determining the root of the cause is important and very helpful for your treatment plan.

Related Article: What to know about Dry Mouth

Salivary Glands and Protection for Overall Health

We have these glands in our mouth, located around the mouth and the throat, that are called salivary glands, and they do a lot for us. These glands, as you probably have guessed, are responsible for making saliva for our mouth. You might be wondering – “why is saliva so important?” and the answer to that is saliva is extremely important for our protection! It’s a powerhouse that contributes so many helpful things to our mouths, such as:

  • Helping destroy plaque and viruses
  • Anti-fungal properties
  • Can attack the bacteria that causes decay in our mouth
  • Neutralizes acids
  • Moistens foods to help swallowing process
  • Helps prevent tooth decay
  • Helps with the formation of certain sounds when speaking
  • Boosts sensations inside the mouth – like the experience of food, pain, etc.

You can probably see how having a reduction in saliva due to dry mouth could cause some discomfort and overall health issues after seeing all these amazing benefits from saliva!

Learn More HERE.

Dry Mouth Symptoms and Signs

If you’re uncertain if you’re experiencing dry mouth, look for these symptoms and give us a call for any questions:

  • Bad breath
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Problems chewing or swallowing
  • Thick or stringy saliva
  • Dry, cracked lips
  • Rough, dry tongue
  • Burning sensation in the mouth

Learn More from the ADA about Xerostomia

What Causes Dry Mouth?

Causes of dry mouth include:

  • Dehydration. Conditions that lead to dehydration, such as fever, vomiting, blood loss, diarrhea, excessive sweating, blood loss, and burns can cause 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 (decongestants and antihistamines), 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 infections and certain diseases. Dry mouth can be a side effect of medical conditions, including AIDS/HIV, Alzheimer’s disease, anemia, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, mumps, stroke, and Sjögren’s syndrome.
  • Nerve damage. Dry mouth can be a result of nerve damage to the neck and head area from an injury or surgery.
  • Side effect of certain medical treatments. The glands that make saliva, can reduce the amount of saliva produced and damage to the salivary glands. For example, the damage could stem from radiation to the neck and head, and chemotherapy treatments, for cancer.
  • Lifestyle. Smoking or chewing tobacco can affect how much saliva you make and aggravate dry mouth. Breathing with your mouth open a lot can also contribute to the problem.
  • Surgical removal of the salivary glands.

Related Article: Vaping vs Smoking: How BOTH Harm Your Mouth, Gums and Teeth

At Home Treatments

There are simple measures you can try to help keep your mouth moist. For example, it may help to:

  • Increase your fluid intake. Take regular sips of cold water or an unsweetened drink
  • Suck on sugar-free sweets or chew sugar-free gum. This can stimulate your salivary glands to produce more saliva
  • Suck on ice cubes. The ice will melt slowly and moisten your mouth
  • Avoid alcohol (including alcohol-based mouthwashes), caffeine and smoking. These can all make a dry mouth worse

Affect on Overall Health and Body

Dry mouth can have an impact on our entire body, since our saliva glands can’t do all that they can to protect us from harmful bacteria and other issues. In fact, dry mouth can cause itchy eyes, coughing, dry throat, constipation, a reduced sense of smell, joint pain, unexplained weight loss, and more!

When our mouth is dry, bacteria can run amok and wreak havoc on our oral health. This is when decay can become a problem, so it’s important to keep up with your oral health routine and see your dentist often for dental checkups. When decay is left untreated, you could be dealing with tooth loss and gum disease. Gum disease has been linked to other overall health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Related Article: Gum Disease: How can you prevent it? How does it affect my body? 

To help with dry mouth, first talk to your dentist and your doctor. You can also increase your water intake, try sugar-free gum, and avoid caffeine and alcohol to reduce symptoms.

Learn More about Oral Health and the Mouth Body Connection

Schedule Your Dental Exam at Adams Dental Group

Now that you know more about dry mouth and oral health, you realize why Dental Health is Important to Your Overall Health. So many times Dentists are the ones that are able to diagnose disease before you notice any symptoms. The Team at Adams Dental Group wants YOU and your family to get the best oral care possible, so you and your family can be healthy and happy!

Local dentist, Travis A. Roberts and his experienced, friendly team at Adams Dental Group offer affordable family dentistry and gentle dental care in the Kansas City, KS area. We have two locations that are conveniently located and offer appointment times Monday through Friday to meet your needs. At Adams Dental Group, we provide most dental services, from family and general dentistry to specialty procedures, including dental implants, dentures, endodontic or root canal treatment, teeth whitening, cosmetic dentistry and much more. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Call us at our West location (913) 296-8030 to schedule an appointment.

June 8th, 2021

Posted In: Dental Health Tips

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