dry mouth

Dry Mouth: Symptoms and Causes

Dry mouth, medically known as xerostomia, is a disorder of the salivary glands. A dry mouth is caused when the salivary glands do not produce enough saliva. A lack of saliva interferes with chewing capabilities and digestion. The process of digestion begins from the mouth as saliva contains many digestive enzymes. In addition, saliva also has certain immunological functions and keeps microbial growth under check. A lack of it makes you prone to dental cavities and other oral infections. Dry mouth is also an uncomfortable experience and interferes with your day-to-day life. If you think you may be suffering from dry mouth, it’s time to consult a Delaware periodontist near you. 

Symptoms of dry mouth or xerostomia

The symptoms of dry mouth can present themselves in various ways. You may feel that your saliva has turned thick, and there may be a feeling of stickiness. In addition, you may also have bad breath and difficulty in chewing, swallowing, and speech. Dry and sore throat is also a common symptom of dry mouth. There may be a change in taste, and you may experience problems wearing a denture if you do. The presence of a dry and fissured tongue can also signal a dry mouth.  

What are the causes of dry mouth?

As mentioned earlier, dry mouth happens when the salivary glands do not make enough saliva to keep your mouth moist. This can happen due to the following reasons- 

  • Certain medications like those used to treat depression, anxiety, hypertension, some antihistamines, decongestants, muscle relaxants, pain medication, including many over-the-counter drugs can cause dry mouth as a side effect. Increase your water intake and continue to sip water throughout the day to counter such side effects. 
  • Aging also reduces the ability to adequate salivary production. 
  • Chemotherapy and radiation treatment also attacks the salivary gland, reducing its ability to produce enough saliva. The damage can be temporary and, at times, even permanent depending upon the area of treatment. 
  • An injury to the nerve supplying the saliva gland. 
  • Other health conditions like Sjogren’s syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, certain infections like oral thrush, and HIV-AIDS can also lead to dry mouth. 
  • Smoking, tobacco, and alcohol consumption also contribute to dry mouth. 
  • Recreation drug abuse can lead to severe dry mouth and damage to the teeth.

The good news is that the symptoms of dry mouth can be managed successfully in most cases. If you are experiencing dry mouth, please consult our board-certified periodontist at Southern Delaware Dental Specialist today. For any inquiries, please reach out to us, and our team will be there to assist you in better oral health.