As we all know, saliva is a very important fluid produced in our mouths to prevent cavities as it neutralizes acids, helps to swallow, chew, digest and enhances your tasting capacities. Saliva is a vital component that we all need to correctly consume our food to maintain better oral health.

Nevertheless, sometimes the mouth isn’t capable of producing enough saliva. This is called dry mouth and it may become very serious. Find more information about the causes and symptoms.

What is dry mouth and what causes it?

As we mentioned, dry mouth is a condition where your saliva glands are not capable of producing enough saliva. This results in impossibility for your mouth to remain wet; as the name implies, it feels dry all the time complicating the most single processes such as swallowing or even speaking.

Causes:

Medications: one of the most common causes of this condition is a side effect of several medications. The most common are ones related to pain and mental illness, but even antihistamines can generate the dryness, especially when used during long periods.

Chemotherapy and radiation therapy: the drugs on chemo commonly change the functioning of saliva glands, making them produce less saliva than needed, but this is temporary. Otherwise, radiation treatment on your neck may damage the salivary glands permanently.

Aging: aging can cause dry mouth for a series of reasons including the continuous use of medication, the wear during natural functioning, and damages the body’s ability to process some drugs.

Nerve damage: some surgeries on your neck can affect the glands and cause permanent dryness.

Substance abuse: tobacco, alcohol and recreational drugs are among the leading causes of dry mouth.

What are the symptoms of dry mouth?

  • Dryness or stickiness is the most common symptom.
  • Thick and stringy saliva that can’t be swallowed.
  • Bad breath
  • Problems chewing or swallowing
  • Dry/sore throat and tongue.
  • Changes in your ability to taste.
  • Difficulty or pain when wearing dentures.

What are the complications of dry mouth?

  • Tooth decay and gum disease due to the increase of plaque.
  • Yeast infections.
  • Sores and cracking of your lips, tongue and inner cheeks.
  • General mouth sore due to the lack of lubrication.

If you feel any of the symptoms or complications of dry mouth, I recommend that you see a dentist as soon as you can to get the right treatment based on your specific case.

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