What Happens Without Enough Saliva
When you do not produce enough saliva to meet your needs, dry mouth is your uncomfortable feeling. When your mouth cannot produce enough saliva, you will find that you not only feel thirsty but also encounter more problems. Through salivation, your mouth can help you taste and digest your diet. Food particles will be washed away from the teeth and the acid will also be washed away, which helps prevent tooth decay (tooth decay). In this series, learn about some of the many causes of dry mouth (also known as xerostomia), as well as its symptoms, treatments, and remedies. This knowledge may be critical to the continued health of teeth and oral cavity.
What Dry Mouth Feels Like
A dry mouth is unpleasant and uncomfortable, but some of these discomforts are in surprising forms. Did you know that insufficient salivation can cause tongue burns? This is a disease called tongue burning syndrome, and it is just one of the surprising symptoms of dry mouth. When your mouth is dry, you may find that your mouth is sticky. It may become difficult to eat and swallow. Your throat may also dry out, making choking more common.
In addition to all other discomforts, a dry mouth may crack your lips, may make your tongue rough and dry, and may cause sores to form in and inside the mouth. In addition to all other possible problems, if you do not have the saliva needed to keep your tongue lubricated, you may have a hard time talking.
Unpleasant Side Effects
Bad breath, sometimes called bad breath, can be another consequence of dry mouth. That’s because the particles in the food are not washed away frequently. When wearing lipstick, you may notice that the makeup sticks to your teeth because there is nothing to rinse it off. A hoarse or itchy throat may be another consequence.
Medications Can Cause Dry Mouth
Prescription and over-the-counter drugs can cause dry mouth
Someone once thought that xerostomia was the result of aging. Now, doctors know that many of the drugs that elderly people take regularly may be the real culprits. Of the more than 400 drugs that cause dry mouth, some include
- Blood pressure medicine
- Asthma medications, and
- Muscle relaxants.
In addition to prescription medications, many over-the-counter medications (such as congestion drugs) can also cause dry mouth. These include medications for allergies and cold symptoms. Drugs are not the only reason related to health. Sometimes, other medical treatments can cause dry mouth. Radiotherapy for oral cancer can damage the salivary glands in the process of attacking cancer cells. Another cancer treatment, chemotherapy, can thicken your saliva and make your mouth drier than usual. Damage to the nerves in the head or neck can disrupt the communication between the brain and the salivary glands, resulting in a dry mouth.
Head and Neck Injuries
Sometimes xerostomia can be traced to nerve damage in the head or neck. When you get injured in these places, the injury may affect your nerve health. Some of these nerves are responsible for transmitting information between your brain and the salivary glands. If these nerves are damaged, your glands may not know when to produce saliva.
Sjögren’s Syndrome and Other Medical Causes
Sometimes the disease causes dry mouth. A health condition called Sjögren’s (SHOW-greens) syndrome can cause white blood cells to attack the tear and salivary glands. This will dry out the eyes and mouth. It is estimated that the disease affects 400,000 to 3.1 million adults. Older women are particularly vulnerable. With Sjogren’s syndrome, the patient can be healthy but may find dry mouth, swelling of glands around the face and neck, irritation of the eyes, gritty, dry nose, throat, and vagina. Acid reflux may also accompany this inflammatory disease.