Everyone has a dry mouth sometimes…like when your boss asks if he can see you in his office or when you get in the car and have to drive head on into a nor’easter blizzard. When you were in high school, you probably felt as if there wasn’t a drop of saliva in your mouth when you had to present your paper to the class.
But if you have dry mouth, where you don’t have enough saliva to keep your mouth moist, all or most of the time, it can lead to more serious problems and be a sign of other medical issues. That’s because, while saliva may seem harmless or at times a nuisance, it does much more than simply keep your mouth wet: it helps digest food, protects the teeth from decay, controls bacteria in your mouth, and makes it possible for you to chew and swallow.
At Kalil & Kress, we can help with your dry mouth.
What are reasons for dry mouth?
Obviously, if your mouth doesn’t have enough saliva, it can be a sign that there is a problem with your salivary glands. But more often their decreased saliva production is due to other factors:
- Side effects of some medications— Over 400 medicines can cause dry mouth, including antihistamines, decongestants, pain killers, diuretics, and blood pressure drugs.
- Disease— Diabetes, Hodgkin’s, Parkinson’s disease, HIV/AIDS and Sjogren’s syndrome all may cause dry mouth.
- Radiation therapy— If you’ve had cancer treatment, the radiation may have damaged your salivary glands.
- Chemotherapy— Chemo drugs can make your saliva thicker, causing your mouth to feel dry.
- Menopause— Changing hormone levels affect the salivary glands, so menopausal women often have a persistent feeling of dry mouth.
- Smoking— Many pipe, cigar, and heavy cigarette smokers can have dry mouth.
How to treat dry mouth
The only real way to stop dry mouth is to treat its cause. If it is due to medication, see if you can switch to a different option or dosage. Otherwise, here are a few things to do:
- Sip water or sugarless drinks often
- Avoid drinks with caffeine
- Chew sugarless gum or suck on sugarless candy to stimulate saliva flow
- Don’t use tobacco or alcohol
- Use a humidifier at night
At Kalil & Kress, we can recommend products such as Biotene Dry Mouth Oral Rinse or Act Dry Mouth Mouthwash. We can also prescribe medications that stimulate your saliva production.If you have signs of dry mouth, or just need to schedule your next cleaning and exam, call us at Kalil & Kress, (603) 880-7004.