We have all had occasional bouts of dry mout – when it felt like no matter how much you had to drink, your mouth was full of sandpaper, and dry and itchy. Many times, this is from some temporary medications you may be taking but other times, it can be a sign of other diseases.
The most common cause of dry mouth is over the counter cold medications. If you have a dry mouth and have had a cold, and are taking a decongestant or anti-histamine, try simply chewing a piece of sugarless gum or eating a piece of sugar-free hard candy. This will help stimulate saliva flow, eliminating the dry mouth, and making you a bit more comfortable. As you end your cold medications, your dry mouth will disappear.
If, however, your dry mouth does not seem to be associated with an over the counter medication, you should contact your dentist. Severe dry mouth is called xerostomia and results from a lack of saliva. Saliva is important because it makes your mouth more comfortable, but it also helps keep your mouth rinsed out, helps eliminate acid production associated with tooth decay, and helps fight diseases.
If your mouth is dry for a long period of time, you may notice that you have a constant sore or ‘tickling’ throat sensation, have a hard time swallowing or speaking, and may even have sores or bleeding in your nose or gums. This is a problem because no or extremely limited saliva production, you are also at risk for increased tooth decay, cavities, and periodontal disease (gum disease).
Your dentist can provide you with mouthwashes and rinses, or drops if you have chronic dry mouth to help eliminate these problems. He or she will also work with your regular physician to help determine the cause and provide you with the best possible treatment.
If you are experiencing excessive dry mouth, contact your dentist today for an appointment and evaluation.
Posted on the behalf of Flat Creek Family Dentistry
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