Do you know about dry mouth? We can all suffer from dry mouth at some point for example, if we are nervous or stressed. So most of us are familiar with the feeling of not having enough saliva in our mouth to keep it moist and lubricated.
For some people, however, dry mouth can be a regular problem. As we get older we are more likely to experience dry mouth, but it’s also a problem that can affect people from their 30s onwards.
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What causes dry mouth?
Dry mouth occurs when the salivary glands stop working effectively. Medicines are known to cause over 60% of dry mouth cases, with more than 400 different medications linked to dry mouth. The number of medicines you take is also directly related to the likehood of experiencing dry mouth.
Health conditions are also linked to dry mouth, such as diabeters. People who smoke, pregnant, stressed, anxious or dehydrated are also more likely to have dry mouth.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of dry mouth include :-
1. Difficulty in eating, especially with dry foods, such as cereals or crackers.
2. Difficulty in swallowing and speaking
3. A burning sensation in the mouth
4. Taste disturbances
5. Painful tongue
6. Dry, cracked, painful lips
7. Bad breath
8. Persistent difficulty in wearing dentures
9. Feeling thirsty especially at night
10. Dry, rough tongue
Sometimes the amount of saliva you produce may be reduced by up to 50% before these symptoms are noticed. These symptoms can sometimes have a profound effect on self confidence.
Does dry mouth cause other problems?
Saliva plays a very important protective role in the body. It not only keeps our mouth moist, it also helps to protect our teeth from decay, helps to prevent infections and helps to heal sores in the mouth.
Are you a dry mouth sufferer?
1. Do you have difficulty swallowing certain foods?
2. Does your mouth feel dry when eating a meal?
3. Do you need to sip liquids to help you swallow dry foods?
4. Are you taking multiple medicines?
If the answer is yes, you may have dry mouth even if you don’t notice specific symptoms.
What to do for dry mouth?
1. Sip water or sugar free drinks often
2. Avoid drinks which dry out the mouth such as caffeine-containing drinks (coffee, tea, some fizzy drinks) and alcohol
3. Chew sugar-free gums or sweets to stimulate saliva flow
4. Use a humidifier at night to keep the air full of moisture
If you have dry mouth, seek to your healthcare professional to ensure it is not danger for your health.