But xerostomia, which means chronic dry mouth, is a concern. Chronic dry mouth is this persistent lack of adequate saliva. Not only is this uncomfortable for you, it could also increase your chances for tooth decay or gum disease.
Here are 3 common causes of chronic dry mouth and what you can do to help the symptoms.
- Insufficient fluid intake.
- Obvious, but very common —you’re simply not consuming enough water. Insufficient fluid intake deprives the salivary glands of essential fluid to produce the necessary amount of saliva. If you find that you’re often thirsty, you’ll need to increase the amount of water you consume throughout the day.
- More than 500 drugs, both over-the-counter and prescription, can list dry mouth as a side effect. Older adults who take more medications than average, may have increased problems with dry mouth. You may be able to help your medication-related dry mouth. Talk with your healthcare provider about alternative drugs for your condition that are less likely to cause dry mouth. Also, drink more water right before and right after taking your medication. Lastly, focus on increasing your daily intake of water.
- Diseases and their treatments.
- Along with some other, systemic diseases like diabetes or Parkinson’s disease can lead to xerostomia. Autoimmune conditions are particularly problematic because the body may turn on its own tissues, the salivary glands being a common target. Radiation or chemotherapy treatments can also damage the glands and lead to decreased saliva production. If you have a condition and are experiencing xerostomia, talk with your healthcare provider about ways to protect your salivary glands.
You can also ease dry mouth symptoms with xylitol gum (“saliva boosters”) or medications that stimulate the production of saliva. Caffeinated drinks and sugary or acidic foods affect your saliva production, so try to avoid them. Importantly, stay diligent with your oral hygiene habits and regular dental visits to continually reduce your risks of dental disease.
If you would like more information on the causes and treatments of dry mouth, please contact us for a consultation. Also, the following article gives you more insight on xerostomia: Dear Doctor magazine article “Dry Mouth: Learn about the Causes and Treatment of this Common Problem.”