Xerostomia, or dry mouth, is the unnatural dryness of mouth. Sometimes the amount of saliva in the mouth gets decreased unnaturally, resulting in the dryness. The saliva in the mouth is essential for chewing, swallowing and digestion of food. Also, it helps in preventing tooth decay and bacterial or fungal infection in the mouth. It is not a severe medical condition and is commonly found in older people, above 65 years of age.
Causes of Dry Mouth
In ordinary conditions, one can experience dry mouth when under stress, nervousness or tension. Similarly, intense fear can also cause dryness of mouth in people of any age group. Damage to the salivary glands can be a serious cause of dryness in mouth. On the other hand, smoking and side effects of certain medications like the diuretics side effects, can also cause dry mouth. Dryness of mouth can also be caused due to certain illnesses like diabetes and depression. Similarly, it is also a side effect of cancer treatment.
Although it is mentioned above that dryness of mouth is more common in old age, it is not a normal aging process and hence, should not be ignored. Dryness of mouth can lead to other complications like the Sjogren's syndrome. It can also increase the chances of tooth decay and discomfort in chewing and swallowing. Therefore, it is essential to get rid of dryness of mouth as early as possible.
Dry Mouth Treatment
If you find that the dryness of mouth is a side effect of any medications, you should consult the doctor immediately. This can be overcome merely by changing the drugs. On the other hand, you can even consult the dentist to check whether dryness of mouth is due to any dental problem. Regular dental checkup, floss or changing of the toothpaste can also help in treating dry mouth. However, in addition, there are also several home remedies that can help in the adequate production of saliva.
Dry Mouth Home Remedies
Most of the time, it is observed that there is no specific serious cause for dry mouth and hence, there is no treatment available. In these cases, one can follow the following dry mouth remedies to overcome it as soon as possible.
- You should frequently drink water to keep your mouth moist. It is better to carry a water bottle with you and drink small sips of water after regular intervals.
- Sucking on chewing gums or candies can also help (look out for sugar free varieties!).
- It is better to avoid caffeine containing drinks, coffee and sodas, altogether.
- You should avoid overeating sugar containing foods and snacks as they can harm your teeth.
- One should completely reduce or stop smoking as it is one of the most important causes of dry mouth.
- If one has a habit of breathing by mouth, he should stop it as it can cause severe dryness.
- Room vaporizers can also be used to add moisture to the bedroom.
- One of the effective remedy is over-the-counter saliva spray which can also be used to increase the saliva.
If dryness of mouth is accompanied with other symptoms, it is wise to consult the doctor immediately. At the same time, medications should be taken only on consulting the doctor.