Dry mouth (xerostomia)

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Dry mouth (xerostomia) is a condition in which your salivary glands produce insufficient saliva to keep your mouth moist and comfortable. Dry mouth is a very common side effect of certain medications, a natural part of the aging process, and a side effect of cancer treatment with radiation therapy. A condition affecting the salivary glands can cause dry mouth, but this is an extremely rare occurrence.

Saliva helps prevent tooth decay by neutralizing bacteria’s acids, limiting bacteria’s growth, and washing food particles out of the mouth. Saliva also enhances your sense of taste and facilitates the chewing and swallowing of certain foods. Additionally, saliva contains digestive enzymes that aid in the digestion process.

Reduced salivation and dry mouth are minor annoyances in some cases, but they can have a significant impact on your overall health, the health of your teeth and gums, as well as your appetite and enjoyment of food.

Diabetes frequently manifests itself through decreased salivation and a dry mouth.

Prior to initiating dry mouth treatment, it is necessary to ascertain and address the root cause of dry mouth.Your doctor may adjust your medication’s dosage or switch you to another medication that does not cause dry mouth if he or she believes that the medication you are taking is causing the problem.

Mouth rinses, artificial saliva, and mouth moisturisers are readily available options for treating dry mouth. It is possible that mouthwashes for dry mouth, particularly those containing xylitol, will be effective. Several products help to prevent tooth decay while also alleviating dry mouth symptoms.


Some of the dry mouth causes are discussed below:

Medicines: Hundreds of drugs have been linked to dry mouth as a harmful side effect in some patients. Antihistamines, decongestants, muscle relaxants, and pain relievers that are used to treat conditions like depression, high blood pressure, and anxiety may cause constant dry mouth.

Cancer treatment: Chemotherapy medications can alter the nature and volume of saliva produced. This is most likely a transient symptom, and normal salivary flow will restore upon completion of the medication. Salivary glands can become inflamed as a result of head and neck radiation treatments, resulting in a significant decrease in saliva production leading to dry mouth and throat. This effect may be temporary or permanent, depending on the dose of radiation and the area treated.

Age: Having a dry mouth is a common ageing symptom that affects a big proportion of the general population. Other factors contributing to this symptom include changes in the body’s ability to metabolise medicines, inadequate nutrition, and long-term health concerns.

Having a dry mouth at night is a common symptom of getting older, especially in adults over the age of 65. This is due to the fact that our saliva production drops as we get older. Perhaps you are experiencing difficulty breathing because of a nasal obstruction, which requires you to breathe solely through your mouth at night.

Illnesses and health condition: Dry mouth is caused by diabetes, stroke, yeast infection in the mouth, Alzheimer’s disease, and anxiety. Dry mouth can be caused by breathing through your mouth or sleeping with your mouth open. It may lead to waking up with dry mouth.

The dry mouth symptom may be the first symptom of COVID 19. A virus that attacks the oral mucosa and muscle fibres of the patient causes Xerostomia. Other dry mouth symptoms include feeling of stickiness, dry or sore throat, change in taste sensation, hoarseness, bad breath and dry tongue.

Dry mouth is also one of the most common pregnancy symptoms. This is primarily due to the fact that pregnant women require significantly more water to aid in the growth of their child. Another possibility is that hormonal fluctuations are interfering with your oral hygiene.

When to see a doctor

If you are experiencing severe symptoms, seek medical attention as soon as possible.You should consult your physician in case of having constant dry mouth. Moreover, if you suspect any tooth decay, you should visit your healthcare provider. It is important to consult your dentist if you have had a dry mouth for a lengthy period of time to rule out any signs of tooth decay.

Call your doctor to schedule an appointment if you suspect that your drugs are causing your dry mouth, or if you notice any other symptoms that indicate an underlying problem that requires treatment.

To discover the cause of your dry mouth and select the right treatment, your doctor may perform blood tests and measure the amount of saliva you produce.

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