Dry Mouth Problem
Does your mouth feel dry and sticky when you first wake up in the morning? Do you feel the urge to drink lots of water? Dry mouth can make it hard for you to swallow, chew your food or speak clearly. With a dry mouth your teeth can decay very quickly, and sometimes there are no warning signs for this condition. Untreated dry mouth can also contribute to bad breath, and sometimes others will notice the stale odour.
Dry mouth is a daily problem that makes you feel uncomfortable while you swallow, eat or speak. It is a condition in which you do not produce enough saliva (spit) to keep your mouth feeling wet. Your physician or nurse do not always talk about dry mouth as a side effect when they give you a prescription for medicine, but dry mouth can be caused by the medicine you take. Whatever you do, don't stop taking your medicine but mention dry mouth to your nurse as soon as you can.
Causes Of Dry Mouth
Medications As The Major Cause Of Dry Mouth
If you suddenly experience symptoms of dry mouth, it may be because you’ve started taking a certain type of medication. Medications are a major cause of dry mouth. In fact, medications cause approximately 90 percent of all cases of dry mouth, according to the Academy of General Dentistry.
You may not be able to discontinue your medication, but you should keep your dentist informed when something in your overall health changes and you start taking medication.
For example, antidepressants, antihistamines, anti-inflammatories and anti-hypertensive medications are just some of the many types of drugs that can contribute to a dry mouth.
If your dry mouth is persistent and severe, talk to your doctor about whether you can reduce the dose of the medication that is causing the problem, or possibly switch to a different medication. Everyone responds differently to medications, so switching to another drug that serves the same purpose may yield the same benefits with less dry mouth.
Chronic Illnesses Can Result into Dry Mouth
In addition, dry mouth can also be a sign of chronic illnesses and other conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease. Lupus and medical treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy can also cause dry mouth symptoms.
Even stress and anxiety can contribute to dry mouth, as can the medications you might take for them.
Dry Mouth Symptoms
- Dry or sticky feeling in the mouth like your mouth is stuffed with cotton balls.
- Burning feeling in mouth or tongue and sometimes tongue feels like shoe leather.
- Difficulty or discomfort when chewing, swallowing or speaking.
- Dry lips and throat or mouth sores.
In order to indicate whether you are suffering from dry mouth ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you taking one or more prescription drugs on a daily basis?
- Does your mouth feel sticky and dry when you wake up in the morning?
- Do you have difficulty swallowing or speaking?
- Do you sip a lot of water to keep your mouth from feeling dry?
- Does your throat feel dry and does your mouth sometimes burn?
- Does your tongue burn or has it changed to a darker red colour?
- Does your tongue sometimes feel as dry as shoe leather?
- Do you sometimes get mouth or tongue sores that will not go away?
If you responded “yes” to one or more questions, talk to your physician and visit your dental professional for information on what you can do to help alleviate the problem.
Dry Mouth Comfort Tips
- Sip room-temperature water throughout the day and night and carry a water bottle with you at all times.
- Avoid drinking lots of water at an extreme temperature (very hot or very cold).
- Only drink sugarless drinks and avoid carbonated beverages.
- Include a beverage like water during meals. Drink water before, during and after the meal.
- Chew sugarless gum or suck on sugarless candy to stimulate salivary flow.
- Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol. Both alcoholic beverages and smoking dry out the mouth and make you more susceptible to gum diseases and oral cancer.
- Select an alcohol-free mouth rinse if you’re in the habit of using a mouthwash. Read the label and make sure alcohol is not listed as an ingredient.
- Try using a night time humidifier to moisten room air.
It is important to communicate with your dentist about issues concerning your overall health because anything that increases your risk for dry mouth also increases your risk for gum disease. Your dentist or dental hygienist may advise you to pay special attention to your daily oral care routine, and to schedule an additional dental cleaning during a time of increased risk, such as during pregnancy or before starting chemotherapy.