Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, can be a common problem for many patients. Unfortunately, dry mouth can result as a side effect of certain medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, pain killers, diuretics and many others. It is always a good idea to discuss any possible side effects such as dry mouth with your doctor or pharmacist. Another cause of dry mouth is Sjogren’s syndrome. Sjogren’s Syndrome is an autoimmune disorder that attacks the glands and organs that are responsible for secreting tears and producing saliva.
Experiencing a dry mouth can be a major annoyance. However, a dry mouth can also lead to extensive tooth decay. This occurs because saliva acts as the body’s defense mechanism to wash away food debris, neutralize harmful acids, and provide disease fighting substances for the mouth. Common symptoms and problems associated with dry mouth may include:
- A constant sore throat
- A burning sensation
- Trouble speaking
- Difficulty swallowing
- Dry nasal passages
Luckily, there are some things that you can do to lessen the harmful and annoying effects of a dry mouth. Using a spray bottle filled with water can be a very helpful method to restore moisture to the mouth (without making you have to go to the bathroom every 15 minutes!) Chewing sugar-free gum or using sugar-free candy can also help to stimulate salivary flow. Finally, there are a plethora of products designed specifically for dry mouth. As always, it is important that any product used contains the ADA seal of acceptance.
Emily H., RDH
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