There are many varied causes of a dry mouth. Anyone can be affected by the condition, it is often thankfully transient in nature.
However, a minority of patients may suffer the problem on a more long-term basis usually associated with other conditions.
The sensation of dry mouth is unpleasant and sometimes painful. It can lead to problems with infections, an increased risk of tooth decay and inflammation and ulceration of the oral tissues.
What are the symptoms of dry mouth?
- Uncomfortable or painful swallowing, especially of dry foods.
- Poor taste sensation.
- Problems with denture retention often associated with speech difficulties.
- Increased incidence of tooth decay.
- Mouth and salivary gland infections.
What are the common causes of a dry mouth?
- Dehydration: this may be associated with infections, vomiting, diarrhoea or uncontrolled diabetes.
- Prescription drugs: those linked with the condition include, antihistamines, high blood pressure medication and some antidepressants.
- Anxiety, depression and stress. (In these cases, the saliva production remains normal.)
- Radiotherapy of the head and neck region.
- Sjogren’s syndrome: this is a condition related to rheumatoid arthritis and includes various symptoms such as dry eyes, fatigue and joint pain.
Brush your teeth regularly with a fluoride containing toothpaste, particularly following consumption of food and drink containing high concentrations of sugars.
Seek regular dental reviews and undertake the professionally supervised use of fluoride supplements. Plastic coatings for teeth called fissure sealants might be indicated. Artificial saliva may be prescribed.
Frequent sips of water or sugar free drinks are helpful. Fresh fruit and sugar free chewing gums both help to stimulate saliva production.