Dry mouth, also known by the term xerostomia, refers to a condition in which the salivary glands located in the mouth do not produce enough saliva to keep the mouth wet.
Saliva is essential to all of us as it helps to digest food and to moisten and cleanse our mouths.
Your mouth will get dry and uncomfortable if your salivary glands cannot make enough saliva. Saliva is crucial when it comes to tooth decay prevention; it neutralizes acids produced by bacteria, which limits bacterial growth and washes away food particles. The enzymes found in saliva aid in digestion. Besides, saliva makes it easier to chew and swallow and enhances our ability to taste.
What Causes Dry Mouth?
Dry mouth is a common side effect of taking certain medications (prescription and nonprescription), including drugs used in the treatment of allergies, anxiety, pain, and depression. Muscle relaxants and sedatives can also cause dry mouth. Dry mouth can also occur as a side effect of certain diseases such as anemia and diabetes.
The drugs used for chemotherapy can also change the nature of your saliva and the amount that is produced. Radiation treatment to your neck and head can cause damage to the salivary glands resulting in a noticeable decrease in the production of saliva. Moreover, tobacco, alcohol, and other recreational drugs such as methamphetamine and marijuana increase the symptoms of dry mouth.
What Can Happen if Dry Mouth Persists?
If your dry mouth is not treated early, you are prone to attract tooth decay, gum disease, and plaque. Due to increased friction in your mouth, sores might develop, followed by a yeast infection (thrush). Your mouth will develop split skin at the corners as well as cracked lips. Lastly, your nutrition will take a dip because you will have problems chewing and swallowing.
What Must You Do? To determine the cause of your dry mouth, we are likely to review the medication you are taking and also get a chance to examine your mouth closely. Sometimes, an image scan of your salivary glands might be necessary or a test that will measure how much saliva you are producing.
This meant to determine the cause of your dry mouth. If we suspect that Sjogren's syndrome causes your dry mouth, a biopsy from your salivary glands is going to be sent for further testing. Moreover, we will advise you accordingly on the matter.