Xerostomia, or chronic dry mouth, affects about 10% of the general population. At times, it can make it difficult to speak and even lead to malnutrition. Salivary gland dysfunction can seriously impair a person’s quality of life so it’s important to get the facts and find treatment.
Benefits of Saliva
Saliva is essential to a healthy mouth. It helps digest food and contributes to a person’s ability to taste. Saliva neutralizes acids that cause tooth decay and provides antibodies against bacterial threats that come in contact with your mouth every day.
The lubricating properties of saliva protect against sores and ulcers, and other effects of friction. With so many important functions, it’s important to not take it for granted. If you experience dry mouth regularly, make an appointment with Dr Hall to see if your condition has had an impact on your dental health. You don’t have to suffer through it.
Causes and Symptoms of Dry Mouth
Dry mouth is commonly a side effect of medications including blood pressure medications, antihistamines and antidepressants. Radiation treatments to the head or neck, salivary gland diseases, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus are other common causes, just to name a few.
In addition to trouble speaking or swallowing, cracked lips and the persistent coughing, you may develop sores in your mouth. A white tongue is indicative of a fungal infection. Burning tongue or throat, ulcers and inflamed tissue are also common effects.
Dr Hall can help you find any damage to your teeth and develop a plan for management and treatment. The first recommendation is usually an antimicrobial rinse. It’s important to choose a rinse that doesn’t contain alcohol as that can only further dryness. Biotene is a popular choice. Also, you must, must, must! drink more water, especially while eating.
Other treatment plans can include medication to increase salivary flow. Artificial saliva treatments and oral lubricants can help as well. They don’t cure xerostomia, but it can help provide relief.
Dry mouth cannot really be prevented so proper management is usually the only option. It’s important to detect xerostomia early in order to avoid the effects on your dental health.
Make an appointment with Dr Hall if you feel you may be suffering from dry mouth. He can help you find a treatment that works for you.