Dry mouth or xerostomia is a condition in which a person does not have enough saliva in the mouth, and as a result, the mouth is unusually dry. Saliva is essential to keep the mouth moist and clean. It also stimulates digestion and prevents bacterial and fungal infections. Dry mouth can be a sign of certain diseases, and if left untreated, can lead to serious health complications.
The common causes of dry mouth are :
The common symptoms of dry mouth are :
Dry mouth can also cause complications like tooth decay, mouth infection, difficulty chewing, tasting and swallowing food, and difficulty speaking.
When you present with the symptoms of dry mouth, your doctor will review your medical history for medical conditions and treatments, and conduct a physical analysis. Your doctor may also perform an examination of the teeth in order to identify a pattern of tooth decay, and conduct saliva tests.
Treatment for dry mouth is based on the cause.
Non-surgical method : The conventional method of treating dry mouth is to drink lots of water, suck ice cubes, chew sugar-free gum and maintain good dental hygiene by brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste. Physicians may prescribe antibiotics and anti-fungal drugs if the cause of dry mouth is diagnosed due to infection. Artificial saliva substitutes and saliva stimulants available over-the-counter can also help. Your doctor may change or reduce the dose of medicine which is causing dry mouth or treat the underlying condition..
Surgical method : A calcified structure called a salivary gland stone may cause blockages in the salivary glands, preventing the normal secretion of saliva, which can in turn cause dry mouth. These stones can be surgically removed under local or general anaesthesia to facilitate normal secretion of saliva.
Dry mouth can be prevented by the following measures :