Many medications have dry mouth as a side effect due to the fact that they interfere with the production of saliva. Many older adults suffer from dry mouth due to the wide range of medications taken. In addition, certain radiation or chemotherapy regimens result in dry mouth if the head or neck is involved.
There are some illnesses that can bring on this condition. Diseases that affect the immune system often result in a shortage of saliva: HIV, Sjorgren’s Disease, and even diabetes might lead to dry mouth. Your dentist can discuss what medications can lead to a leveling off of saliva levels for some illnesses.
If the body is depleted of fluids, or dehydrated, symptoms like a dry mouth can result. A high fever or diarrhea can cause the body to become dehydrated. Generally this condition is easily overcome by replenishing the body with fluids, such as water and beverages that contain the needed electrolytes to rehydrate the body. Dry mouth due to dehydration is usually a temporary symptom.
If the salivary glands must be removed due to disease or frequent infection, the resulting dry mouth is usually permanent. Your dentist can address your options.
Consumption of alcohol and partaking of tobacco in any form can decrease the presence of saliva in the mouth. Caffeine in excess and even spicy foods can exacerbate the problem of dry mouth.
Everyone has experienced dry mouth due to a stressful situation, but if dry mouth has become more constant and it is more than just uncomfortable, a visit to your dentist can possibly prevent a more serious health problem.
For those temporary situations where your mouth feels dry, sipping water, chewing sugarless gum or sucking on sugarless candy will help to stimulate the flow of saliva. But if you do suffer from xerostomia, it is essential to take extra special care of your teeth by gently brushing at least twice a day with toothpaste that contains fluoride, floss daily, and visit the office of Dr. Philip R. Kozlow at least twice per year.