Xerostamia, a medical term for dry mouth, is caused when there isn’t enough saliva in the mouth. Quite common in old population, the condition is the result of dysfunction of salivary glands. There are quite a few symptoms of dry mouth including bad breath, cracked lips, speaking difficulties, etc.
To understand the condition better, let’s first take a look at some causes of dry mouth and then at some treatment and drugs that your dentist might prescribe:
Following are some of its causes:
Many medications, including those treating depression and anxiety, cause dry mouth as a side-effect. Moreover, use of some muscle relaxants and pain treatment drugs, can result in symptoms of dry mouth.
Aging is a cause of dry mouth because older people are more likely to have medications and other health conditions that cause dry mouth.
Drugs used during the middle of chemotherapy decrease production of saliva. The effect may be temporary and may subside after the treatment is over. Radiation dose to your head or neck can negatively impact salivary glands and may cause permanent damage to it.
Use of tobacco is one of the common causes of dry mouth. People who regularly smoke have often complained about symptoms of dry mouth.
Other Medical Conditions
Diseases such as HIV/AIDS and Sjogren’s syndrome can cause dry mouth symptoms. Other conditions like heart stroke and Alzheimer’s disease may lead to false perceptions of dry mouth.
Treatment and Medications
Depending on the cause of dry mouth, your physician or dentist may treat your condition accordingly.
If your dry mouth is caused by any of the medications, your doctor may change dosage or switch to an equally effective alternative.
Prescribe Products That Can Lubricate Your Mouth
Your dentist or physician may recommend some over-the-counter products or prescribe medication such as, Salogen or Evoxac, to ensure that the flow of saliva is retained. Moreover, use of artificial saliva or moisturizer may also be recommended.
Recommend Fluoride Treatment for Cavities Protection
Since dry mouth can lead to cavity formation, your dentist might give you fluoride trays. These trays are filled with fluoride and you have to wear them over your teeth every night for some time. Use of antibacterial oral rinse like Chlorhexidine may also be recommended.