Dry Mouth – Symptoms & Causes

Do you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night in need of a glass of water because your mouth feels so dry? If you (like many others) have answered yes to this question then you may be suffering from a common condition called xerostomia, also known as “dry mouth”.

What is the Importance of Saliva?

Although we may not think much about it, most people do have a basic understanding on the importance of saliva. Saliva contains the necessary enzymes to start the digestion process. It moistens and cleanses our mouths by assisting with the washing away of plaque. It’s also an important factor in preventing infections by controlling the production of bacteria and fungi found in the mouth. When we don’t produce enough saliva, our mouth becomes very dry and even uncomfortable.

Common Symptoms of Dry Mouth

A few common symptoms of dry mouth include:

  • sticky and dry sensation
  • difficulty swallowing, tasting and speaking.
  • even chewing food can be difficult with dry mouth!
  • bad breath
  • cracked lips
  • dry tongue

Do you need to sip on water all day to moisten your mouth, gums, and throat? Do have several of the above symptoms? If you answered yes, then we recommend that you continue reading.

If you have any symptoms of dry mouth, it is important to address them with your dentist or dental hygiene. Your dental care team will be able to assess your condition and discuss different treatment options to minimize the symptoms. The key to treating dry mouth is in communicating your symptoms to your dental care team. And fortunately, dry mouth can be treated effectively!

While there are many causes of dry mouth, the most common include:

  • Medications with a side effect of dry mouth (there are more than 400 different types of drugs linked to dry mouth—i.e., antidepressants, antihistamines, and beta blockers)
  • Certain diseases such as HIV/AIDS, diabetes, Parkinson’s, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus, erythematosus, and sarcoidosis
  • Certain cancer treatments like radiation and chemotherapy
  • Trauma (i.e., nerve damage)

In order to ensure you receive the best care, let your dental care team know if you have experienced any of the above causes.

Healthy Amounts of Saliva = Overall Good Health

In an effort to keep up with our mission to leave no mouth unhealthy, we at MG Dentistry do not take dry mouth lightly. Next time you visit, make sure to let us know if you experience any of these symptoms of dry mouth.

We prefer our patients maintain an overall good health and this is one of those key components.