Dry Mouth affects oral health
Dry mouth can lead to tooth cavities since food is more likely get trapped in your teeth without enough saliva. When you have dry mouth, you are also at a greater risk of infections of the mouth, including the gums and tongue. Dry lips and bad breath are other common symptoms associated with dry mouth.
Dry mouth has several causes.
Dry mouth can happen for several different reasons—some are due to certain medicines and others can be caused by diseases.
- Medications: Hundreds of different medicines can cause the salivary glands to make less saliva. This includes medicines for high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, allergies, acid reflux and Parkinson’s disease as well as chemotherapy. Over-the-counter cold and flu and sleep remedies can also lead to dry mouth. Older people are at a greater risk of dry mouth as a result of taking more medicines.
- Diseases: Infections can cause dry mouth. Loss of fluid from your body or dehydration leads to dry mouth. A disease called Sjögren’s syndrome (pronounced SHOW-grins syndrome) causes dry mouth.
- Other causes: Breathing through your mouth because of a stuffy nose or sleep apnea can cause dry mouth. Another cause of dry mouth is radiation treatment to the head or neck.
If your dry mouth is a side effect of medicine you are taking, your healthcare provider may change the dosage or prescribe a different medicine. Your pharmacist can tell you whether or not dry mouth is a common side effect of medicines you are taking.
Dry mouth can be treated.
Treatment for dry mouth depends on the cause and the severity of symptoms. Here’s some useful information for treating dry mouth:
- If your dry mouth is a side effect of medicine you are taking, your healthcare provider may change the dosage or prescribe a different medicine. Your pharmacist can tell you whether or not dry mouth is a common side effect of medicines you are taking.
- Saliva substitutes are available without a prescription. Xylitol-based products can provide relieve dry mouth symptoms by keeping your mouth wet.
- Avoid mouthwashes that contain alcohol because they can dry out your mouth.
- Stay hydrated by drinking more fluids. Avoid coffee since caffeine can dry out the mouth.
- Don’t smoke.
- Consider using a humidifier, especially at night to help moisten the air while you sleep.