If you’ve ever been thirsty, extremely hot, or near dehydration, you’ve probably experienced dry mouth, which occurs when your mouth does not produce enough saliva. While inarguably uncomfortable, most cases of temporary dry mouth are resolved when you quench your thirst. Persistent dry mouth (xerostomia) is usually solved when the underlying cause of the condition is discovered and treated.
Lack of Saliva
Reduced or non-existent saliva can cause damage far beyond that of discomfort. In addition to enhancing your sense of taste, saliva makes swallowing food easier and contains enzymes that aid digestion. It also washes away food particles and assists in controlling the bacterial population in your mouth. When saliva production decreases, your risk of developing tooth decay increases. Prolonged xerostomia can cause devastating damage to your oral health, and can lead to malnutrition due to difficulty eating.
I’m Still Thirsty
When your mouth is dry, your instinctive reaction is probably to drink something, preferably water, to quench your thirst. If this alleviates your discomfort, than you can move on and continue to enjoy your day. Some people, however, may become frustrated that endless gulps of water seem to do nothing to ease their discomfort. Most cases of persistent xerostomia are caused by factors other than thirst. Some common causes for xerostomia include (but are not limited to):
- Health conditions—In some instances, dry mouth may be a symptom or indication of another condition. Some health issues that can cause dry mouth include Sjogren’s syndrome, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS, among many others. Excessive snoring or breathing with your mouth open can also cause or exacerbate dry mouth.
- Medications—Some medications have been known to carry the risk of dry mouth as a side effect, including anti-depression and anti-anxiety drugs, antihistamines, decongestants, muscle relaxants, and medications for high blood pressure and Parkinson’s disease.
- Tobacco—Among the myriad consequences of tobacco use, including cancer, gum disease, and heart disease, tobacco can also cause your salivary glands to become inflamed, reducing or stopping saliva production.
ABOUT YOUR FT. WORTH, TX, DENTIST:
Dr. Bob Jing has served patients and their families across Dallas/Ft. Worth for many years. Together with his caring, compassionate, and highly-skilled team at 7 Day Dental, Dr. Jing is dedicated to making good dental health available to as many people as possible. To learn more, or to schedule a consultation or appointment, contact our office closest to you at 817-405-2001 on Jacksboro Highway, or at 817-405-0195 on Seminary Drive.