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Michael D. Squire, DDS | Floral Park Smiles | Newsletter in Floral Park


Dry Mouth: What is It and How Can I Solve It?

Dry mouth can be a frustrating condition to deal with. With the feeling of constantly being thirsty, the uncomfortable dryness, and the bad breath it can cause, patients are looking for relief. If you suffer from an unusually dry mouth, keep reading to learn more about causes and prevention.

Dry mouth is characterized by a persistently dry mouth and/or throat, thick saliva, bad breath, and a changed sense of taste. It can also create difficulty with speaking and swallowing. Dry mouth that goes untreated can increase the risk of tooth decay, increase gum irritation and gum disease, and cause problems with wearing dentures. It can also lead to mouth sores, fungal infections, cracked lips, and sores at the sides of the mouth. In addition, for those who have trouble chewing and swallowing, poor nutrition can be a result.

There are many different conditions that may cause dry mouth. One of the major causes is medications. Dry mouth is a frequent side-effect of many medications, especially muscle relaxants, decongestants, and antihistamines. Chemotherapy is also a cause, as the chemotherapy drugs alter the saliva and its production. More avoidable causes of dry mouth include the use of tobacco and methamphetamines. There are other health conditions that may lead to a dry mouth either directly or indirectly. Clearly, dry mouth is a common result of many conditions. The good thing is that there are ways to avoid it.

For severe dry mouth, it is smart to protect your teeth. Your doctor may recommend fluoride trays to wear nightly for cavity protection. To help relieve the symptoms of dry mouth, you should first find out what is causing the unusually dry condition. If it is attributed to medication, your doctor may be able to change your prescription or dose so that the side effect goes away. There are also products that help like mouth rinses, artificial saliva, and mouth moisturizers. Remember that staying hydrated is a huge part of keeping a moist mouth. Make sure you are getting in enough water every day. Also stay away from foods and drinks that can dry out the mouth, like alcohol, caffeine, and certain candies. In severe cases, there are prescription medications that stimulate saliva production.

Dry mouth can be irritating and can lead to serious dental consequences. The good thing is, there is often a way to solve it. By staying hydrating, talking to your doctor, and monitoring results, dry mouth can be stopped!