The saliva that your mouth produces naturally is essential for keeping your mouth moist and clean. It's also an important part of the digestive process. Saliva can even help reduce your risk of infection, because by keeping your mouth clean, it reduces any bacteria in your mouth. If you aren't producing enough saliva, your mouth becomes dry and uncomfortable. Luckily, there are many options for treating dry mouth if you can recognize it. Here's what you need to know to deal with it.
Recognizing the Symptoms of Dry Mouth
Dry mouth comes with several common symptoms, and recognizing those symptoms is important to seeking treatment in a timely manner. You may notice a persistent dry, sticky feeling in your mouth and frequent thirst.
Sometimes, prolonged problems with dry mouth can even lead to sores and split skin around the corners of your mouth. As the condition progresses, you might end up with a lasting dry feeling in your throat, burning and tingling on your tongue, and even problems with chewing, talking and swallowing.
Causes of Dry Mouth
There are many causes of dry mouth, and identifying the cause of your condition is the first step toward recovering.
- Medication – Sometimes, medication is the cause of dry mouth symptoms. Both over-the-counter and prescription medications have been known to result in dry mouth symptoms. If you're taking any medications and struggling with dry mouth, you'll want to talk with your doctor to see if any of those medications are to blame.
- Nerve Damage – If you've suffered a neck or head injury, nerve damage can cause dry mouth. After all, there are nerves that carry messages between your brain and salivary glands, and if those nerves are damaged, the salivary glands may not get the communication they need.
- Other Causes – Medical conditions can cause dry mouth. Specifically, an autoimmune disease known as Sjorgren's syndrome can lead to these symptoms. If you've been diagnosed with this condition, you'll want to talk with your dentist about treatment options.
Treatment Options for Dry Mouth
- Quit Smoking – If you're a smoker and you're struggling with dry mouth, you may find your tobacco habit is worsening your symptoms. Whether you smoke cigarettes, cigars or pipes, you may find some improvement if you quit.
- Be Attentive to Oral Health Care – One of the best ways to combat dry mouth is by taking good care of your teeth. In addition to a solid tooth care regimen at home, you'll also need to keep up with routine dental visits. Your dentist can help combat the buildup of bacteria in your mouth that happens as a result of dry mouth conditions. Keeping up your water intake daily is also important, as it helps to combat the dryness.
- Improve Saliva Production – Your dentist may prescribe a medication to help increase your body's saliva production. In addition, chewing gum is a great option as well, because the act of chewing gum can trigger saliva production. Just make sure you choose a sugar-free option, otherwise you're adding sugar that can cause decay in your teeth.
- Other Tips – Consider keeping a bottle of water on hand, because sipping water can help to keep your mouth from being too dry. Just try to limit the sugary, caffeinated and acidic drinks, because those things can actually worsen your symptoms. Add a humidifier to your bedroom as well, because that can help to ease dryness while you sleep.
If you're struggling with dry mouth symptoms, you don't have to feel that way all the time. If you reach out to your dentist and explain your discomfort, he or she can help you narrow down the cause of your symptoms and treat them. Check out sites like http://www.desmoines-dentalassociates.com to find dentists in your area.