Dry Mouth: Prevention and Treatment
You’ve probably experienced something like dry mouth a few times in your life. Shreveport dentist Dr. Benjamin Kacos is sharing his knowledge about dry mouth.
There’s an important business meeting coming up, and you’re the one in charge of pitching a new marketing strategy. It’s your first time meeting your significant other’s family. Or perhaps it’s the last round in a series of job interviews for a job you’ve always wanted. All related to stress.
And when you’re stressed, you feel out of breath, hot and cold at the same time, and your mouth and throat are dry. But once the dreaded (or highly anticipated) event is over, your bodily functions get back on track.
But wait, your mouth and throat are still dry. In fact, you’ve noticed the same parched feeling happening these past few days.
If you’re one of the 10% of Americans suffering from xerostomia, more commonly known as “dry mouth,” it’s time to drop by your Shreveport dentist’s clinic ASAP.
The role of saliva in oral health
Saliva is one of the essential elements of a healthy mouth, though it is something people generally take for granted. Without saliva, the mouth will have no way to naturally cleanse and lubricate itself, so everyone will be suffering from a dry, cracked tongue and lips as well as from mouth ulcers and sores.
Aside from being an essential component of the process of digestion, saliva also neutralizes food acids and is the mouth’s natural defense against tooth decay and harmful microorganisms.
Causes of dry mouth
One of the main concerns your Shreveport dentist will focus on is finding out the underlying cause behind your case. Dry mouth can result from any of the following reasons:
- Anxiety, chronic stress, depression
- Mouth breathing
- Cancer treatment (chemotherapy/radiation)
- Autoimmune diseases such as lupus, Sjogren’s syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis
- Eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia nervosa
- Certain medications (e.g. pain pills, diuretics, antihistamines, blood pressure pills, antidepressants, decongestants, etc.)
Dry mouth prevention and treatment
Once the underlying cause of dry mouth has been established, a treatment plan will be tailored to address the issue. However, the following are some of the simple ways dry mouth can be prevented and treated:
- Keep yourself hydrated with water
- Stop smoking and limit your alcohol and caffeine intake
- Learn to breathe through your nose, not your mouth
- Use a humidifier at night to add moisture to the air
- Don’t use mouth rinses that contain alcohol and use those ones which have been especially formulated for dry mouth
- Chew on sugar-free gum or mints to stimulate saliva production
Depending on the severity of your case and the underlying cause, other treatment alternatives may be discussed with you, especially if the reason involves another ailment or medication that you have been taking.