Most of us have experienced the discomfort of a dry mouth at some point – in the morning when we wake up, for example. High stress and increased physical activity may also reduce the amount of saliva in the mouth. When the mouth is unusually or persistently dry, however, there is cause for concern. This ailment is known by the medical term xerostomia.
Xerostomia is a condition in which the salivary glands do not function properly. A lack of saliva in the mouth has a domino effect: tasting, chewing and swallowing become more difficult, which in turn may compromise nutrition. Additionally, saliva contains proteins and minerals that protect and revitalize tooth enamel while neutralizing the acids in oral bacteria. When the amount of saliva is reduced, the mouth becomes more susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease. Xerostomia can also lead to bad breath.
What causes xerostomia? There are several possibilities, including:
If it’s determined that your medication is causing xerostomia, your physician may be able to suggest an alternative pharmaceutical or adjust the dosage. Additionally, the following suggestions are beneficial:
Keep us informed regarding your current medications, and our dentists can recommend a treatment that is best suited to you and your circumstances with dry mouth.