Why is having a dry mouth considered an oral health problem?Our mouths need saliva to cleanse it and to help in digesting food. It is also responsible for preventing infection because it controls the bacteria. If the mouth doesn’t produce enough saliva, it gets dry. This condition is called
There are many causes for this condition. These may include the following:
- Side effect of medicines. A common side effect of a number of drugs is dry mouth. These drugs include those that are used to treat allergies, obesity, anxiety, pain, asthma, and many more. Likewise, muscle relaxants can also have the same effect.
- Diseases. Certain diseases can cause a dry mouth, such as diabetes, anemia, mumps, rheumatoid arthritis, HIV/AIDS and many others.
- Medical treatments. There are treatments that actually damage the salivary glands, thus preventing them to produce enough saliva for the mouth. One example would be cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, as radiation to the neck and head may reduce the production of saliva.
- Dehydration. Fever, vomiting, diarrhea and burns may cause dry mouth, as well. These are conditions that typically lead to water loss in the body.
- Lifestyle. Those who smoke and chew tobacco may likewise have dry mouths. This affects the saliva production. Also, breathing through the mouth also contributes to the aggravation of xerostomia.
- Dry Mouth as Problem. Because the saliva is responsible for controlling the bacteria in the mouth, having a dry mouth can make it more susceptible to infections. It increases the risk of gum diseases, tooth decays and other mouth infections. Likewise, those who wear dentures will find it difficult to wear them when their mouths are dry.
- Dry Mouth Treatments. Tell your dentist whenever you feel like your mouth is getting too dry. Also tell your doctor if you are undergoing some medical treatments, or taking medications. Oral mouthwashes or rinses also effectively help in keeping the mouth moist. Your dentist may also prescribe some medication that would stimulate the production of saliva, such as pilocarpine hydrochloride tablets.
You may also chew some sugar-free gum and drink more water. An air vaporizer can also help, to keep the air moist. Also refrain from breathing through the mouth because it easily dries up the mouth.