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Dry Mouth: Is It Sneaking Past Your Radar?

Dry Mouth: Is It Sneaking Past Your Radar?

Dry Mouth: Is It Sneaking Past Your Radar?

A dental epidemic is brewing, and it's called Xerostomia, or "Dry Mouth". It sounds innocuous enough, and perhaps that is why many people affected by the problem fail to treat it, or detect it altogether. But it's nothing to scoff at, especially considering that extreme cases of this widespread problem include difficulty swallowing, speaking, and in some instances, bacterial or fungal infection.

Even if you don't currently suffer from insufficient saliva production, it can easily happen to you! Here's why, how to spot it and what you can do about it.

Causes of Dry Mouth

1. Commonly Prescribed Medications

Many types of prescription medications can contribute to dry mouth:

  • Painkillers
  • Antibiotics
  • Antidepressants
  • Antihistamines
  • Asthma Inhalers
  • Diuretics
  • Sedatives
  • Corticosteroids
  • Statins

2. Certain Health Conditions

Dry mouth can occur due to a variety of health issues including:

  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Sjogren's Syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Obesity
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Pulmonary Disease
  • Alzheimer's
  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Connective Tissue Disorders
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Post-Traumatic Stress
  • Arthritis

3. Damage to the Salivary Glands

Saliva production can be significantly reduced due to an impairment of the salivary glands from radiation, chemotherapy, surgery or an accident involving the head or neck.

4. Age, Stage or Lifestyle

Last, but not least, dry mouth can be attributed to everyday habits and situations. Illness, excessive sweating, diarrhea and other causes of dehydration may result in a parched, uncomfortable feeling in your mouth. Other factors such as smoking and sleeping with your mouth open are major contributors to this condition. Many cases can also be chalked up to aging, or are a result of natural health developments such as pregnancy or menopause.

Symptoms of Dry Mouth

Just as countless factors may cause dry mouth, the condition itself can vary widely by individual. If any of these warning signs are familiar to you, see your dentist for help:

  • Bad breath, gingivitis and/or cavities despite frequent brushing and flossing
  • A constantly parched, thirsty feeling that returns even after drinking water
  • Trouble speaking or swallowing, coupled with pain, soreness and/or hoarseness
  • A pebbled-looking tongue, that may also seem overly red or shiny
  • A sense of stickiness, with food particles often found stuck to your teeth
  • Cracking/blistering around the lips, no matter how well-hydrated you are
  • A change in taste, with newfound difficulty eating spicy or dry foods in particular
  • Noticeable lack of saliva pooling underneath your tongue

Treating Dry Mouth

Due to the complex nature (and countless causes) of this condition, enlisting the help of your dentist is your best bet for long lasting relief. After a thorough examination and review of your health and medical history, he or she may prescribe a mouth rinse or saliva-boosting medication to treat the problem.

Certain modifications to your everyday routine could also help ease the discomfort:

  • Try to breathe through your nose as much as possible
  • Keep sugar-free lozenges/candies within reach to combat excessive dryness
  • Drink water even more frequently to replenish lost moisture in your mouth
  • Switch to fluoride-fortified toothpaste and mouthwash to protect your teeth
  • Consider using a humidifier if you breathe through your mouth while sleeping

Depending on the underlying cause of your situation, dry mouth may be temporary or a problem that's here to stay. Regardless of duration, however, seeing your dentist regularly will be crucial to protect yourself against tooth decay and other costly oral health problems.

Patient Reviews

  • Dr. Rehder and the entire staff are friendly and compassionate. They accommodate my needs as a patient and treat me as a personal friend. Professionally, they provide the utmost care and advice, the patient always comes first. I can’t say enough positive comments about this practice.

    ~Review by Eileen S.

  • Dr. Rehder is very professional, yet not too serious as he is doing your teeth. He makes it relaxing and is able to keep your mind away from his work (I have never liked going to the dentist, but Dr. Rehder makes the experience as close to pleasant as a dentist visit can be).

    ~Review by Mary Ellen M.

  • Thank you Dr. Rehder and Christine for the "always exciting" and "never a dull moment" orthodontist appointment. See you in two weeks to do it all over again. Ok maybe-not ALL over again.

    ~Review by Elena C.

  • I had a great experience with Dr. Rehder. He is very informative and professional. All of the staff were so nice and helpful. My overall experience was one of the best I had with a dental office. I would definitely recommend people to come here.

    ~Review by Paulina C.

  • Professional staff. Makes you feel at ease, would highly recommend.

    ~Review by Diane S.

  • Always wonderful visits at Pinefield Dental. I've been a patient since the very early 90s. The staff is my extended family & takes care of my teeth with the utmost professionalism. This is my dental home

    ~Review by Kenneth C.

  • The doctor and staff were wonderful. My experience is always great. The staff is very caring and always professional. The hours are very convenient as well. They will be able to accommodate anyone's schedule.

    ~Review by Amanda C.

  • Richard F. Gittleson, DDS Reviews No one likes/enjoys going to the dentist, but our dentist (Dr. Gittleson) and his staff are so pleasant they help relieve a patient fears.

    ~Review by Patricia L.

  • Highly recommended, I’ve been a patient since 1983.

    ~Review by Charles G.

  • Excellent.

    ~Review by Dom J.

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