Dry mouth is a condition which is medically known as xerostomia. Basically, dry mouth gives you a feeling of not having an adequate amount of saliva in your mouth. Almost everyone experiences dry mouth at some point in time. Mostly, certain medications, nervousness, stress, or other physiological conditions often result in dry mouth. However, persistent dry mouth can be an indication of medical problems that need to be properly treated.
How Dry Mouth Actually Feels
While some people experience an uncomfortable dryness and stickiness in their mouth, others observe a burning or tingling feeling while eating. Their throat may also get dry which can complicate the process of swallowing. Furthermore, dry mouth can also lead to development of mouth sores, hard tongue, and dry or cracked lips.
Dry mouth occurs when your mouth has little or no saliva. Saliva not only keeps our mouth wet, but also helps mouth sores to heal and prevents teeth from infections and decay. It controls the growth of bacteria, fungi, and viruses in your mouth. While playing an important part in gustatory perception – sense of taste – saliva eases the chewing and swallowing of food. The condition of dry mouth severely affects each function of saliva.
Signs And Symptoms
You may observe the following symptoms if you do not have enough saliva in your mouth:
- Recurrent thirst
- A sticky and dry mouth
- Different kinds of mouth sores
- Cracked and excessively dry lips
- Rough and cracked skin at the corners of the mouth
- Constantly dry throat
- A dry and rough tongue
- Hoarse voice with dry and irritated nasal passage
- Foul breath
- A fungal infection in mouth
- Enhanced tooth decay and plaque buildup
- Stingy and sticky saliva
Causes Of Dry Mouth
Xerostomia or dry mouth can possibly be an indication of an underlying medical condition or disease such as HIV/AIDS, diabetes, arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, anemia, Sjogren’s syndrome, hypertension, mumps, and cystic fibrosis.
Dry mouth is a possible side effect of some medications. Often, drugs that are used to treat pain, colds, acne, depression, urinary incontinence, epilepsy, allergies, obesity, diarrhea, Parkinson’s disease, anxiety, nausea, asthma, and psychotic disorders affect the production of saliva in your mouth. Some tranquilizers and muscle sedatives can also cause dry mouth.
Some medical treatments can possibly damage your salivary glands. It implies that these glands do not produce enough saliva to keep your mouth constantly wet. For instance, certain chemotherapy treatments can lessen the production of saliva in your mouth.
Fever, vomiting, burns, excessive sweating, blood loss, and diarrhea are some conditions that generally cause dehydration. In such a scenario, you are likely to feel dry mouth. Furthermore, a surgery or injury resulting in nerve damage can also lead to dry mouth. The extent of saliva production is also affected by smoking or tobacco consumption.
Older people are more prone to experience dry mouth. They usually consume loads of medications that not only reduce saliva production, but also aggravate dry mouth. In addition, they often have various other health issues that may result in xerostomia.
Author Bio: Kevin Kerfoot writes about health, nutrition, oral hygiene and skin care for Trusted Health Products’ natural health blog and newsletter.