Causes and Concerns for Dry Mouth

Dry mouth, or xerostomia, is not a disease; rather, it is a symptom of something else that’s going on in your body. Here’s what dry mouth is, what causes dry mouth, and what you can do to reverse it.

It can be caused by a myriad of different things, including disease and medication. Here are some of the things that can cause dry mouth:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Dehydration
  • Medications, including:
    • Antidepressants
    • Antihypertensives
    • Opiates
    • Bronchodilators
    • Antipsychotics
    • Antihistamines
    • Diuretics
    • Antineoplastics
    • Proton pump inhibitors
  • Sjögren’s syndrome
  • Celiac disease
  • Poorly controlled diabetes
  • Hepatitis C
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Radiation therapy for cancers of the head and neck
  • Mouth breathing (including snoring)
  • Excessive alcohol intake
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Using other recreational drugs

As you can imagine, the wide array of causes can make it hard to pinpoint what’s causing a person’s xerostomia, but in the end it’s just a person’s self-reported feeling of having a dry mouth.

The dental deal

Xerostomia can impact your dental health in two different ways.

First and foremost, saliva is basically your body’s natural teeth cleaner. Saliva neutralises acids in the mouth after you have been eating or drinking, and helps remineralise your teeth. This doesn’t happen when you have a dry mouth.

Secondly, the lack of saliva in your mouth can cause you to develop some unfortunate halitosis – bad breath. We’ve already written a full-length blog post about halitosis, which you should check out below!

Read: How to Fix Bad Breath

Since your saliva isn’t there to clean away bad bits from your teeth, they can linger and develop some nasty smells if you’re unlucky.

How to fix dry mouth?

While there are a number of remedies for xerostomia, we want to emphasise that you should consult a doctor before trying to treat your own medical problems. The numerous causes of xerostomia have an equal amount of solutions.

Simple remedies that could help some people include the following.

  • Drinking more water
  • Chewing gum that contains xylitol
  • Eat crunchy vegetables with high water content (carrots, celery, cucumber)
  • Using a humidifier in the bedroom to avoid drying out your mouth overnight

There’s also a couple of things that you should probably try to avoid if you struggle with dry mouth:

  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Sugary foods, snacks and drinks
  • Acidic foods, snacks and drinks
  • Dry, spicy and salty foods
  • Very cold and very hot drinks

We would love to see you here at Cairns Precision Dental Group! You can book an appointment online or give us a call on 07 4054 2203 to book an appointment today!

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