Dentist in Tustin, CA Helps Patients Prevent Dry Mouth
It is easy take something like saliva for granted. It comes completely naturally and is something no one ever thinks about—until it is gone. When salivary flow is diminished, it can make the mouth and lips uncomfortable, make speaking and eating difficult, and lead to a number of dental problems. There is not one single cause of dry mouth, but there are some universal solutions for dealing with the side effects.
Common Causes of Dry Mouth
• Medication. Many prescription medications can cause dry mouth, including medications for depression, anxiety, and allergies, to name only a few. Talk to your doctor to find out what effects your prescriptions may be having on salivary flow.
• Smoking. Smoking is known to slow down salivary flow, as is the use of smokeless tobacco.
• Disease. Many diseases such as HIV, diabetes, and Parkinson’s can cause dry mouth.
• Head and Neck Radiation. Cancer patients who receive radiation to the head and neck area can suffer from dry mouth due to damage to the salivary glands.
• Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy can change the consistency of saliva, making it less effective.
• Menopause. Because the salivary glands are hormonally regulated, the significant hormonal changes that take place during menopause can negatively affect the salivary glands.
Dry Mouth Symptoms
• Difficulty eating or swallowing
• Difficulty speaking
• Chapped or cracking lips
• Decreased ability to taste food
• Ulcers/sore spots in mouth
• Bad breath
Dry Mouth Treatments
Your dentist (and perhaps your doctor) can make specific recommendations for treating dry mouth depending on its exact cause. However, there are some universal solutions that can be employed by nearly everyone who suffers from dry mouth.
• Mouthwash. There are several over-the-counter mouthwashes specifically formulated to treat dry mouth.
• Chewing gum. The act of chewing in general stimulates salivary glands. Be sure to stick to sugar-free gum.
• Drink lots of water. It’s not the quantity of water that counts, but the frequency. Sipping on water throughout the day can relieve dry mouth symptoms. Also remember that caffeine and sugary drinks can reduce salivary flow.
• Dietary modification. It is best to avoid foods that are high in sodium as well as spicy foods, which can exacerbate dry mouth symptoms.
• Prescription Medications. If your dry mouth is severe, your dentist or doctor may prescribe medications that stimulate salivary flow.
Although dry mouth can be very difficult to deal with, there are plenty of options for managing the symptoms. Healthy salivary flow not only means a more comfortable mouth, it means fewer dental problems.
Need to schedule an appointment with a leading dentist in Tustin, CA? Give our office a call at (714) 669-9555 or click here.