What is Xerostomia [Dry Mouth] – Causes, Symptoms, Treatments
Xerostomia – Did you know that humans can get more than 9500 different types of diseases? The list of these diseases can be longer as scientists are still debating on some conditions. The list of these diseases also included mental diseases.
There could be thousands of different reasons that a person can get any disease, and one of those reasons can be the use of different medications. Yes, every medicine in the world contains the risk of some side effects.
Usually, people don’t get any side effects, but sometimes it can cause different diseases, including dry mouth, which is also known as Xerostomia. If you are also consuming any medication, then there are higher chances that you will get dry mouth, and that is why today we are here to discuss everything related to the same.
What is Xerostomia?
Dry mouth or Xerostomia is a sensation that happens when you don’t have enough saliva in your mouth. Saliva is produced by salivary glands in the mouth of a human. Usually, people don’t get dry mouth, but those who are already can struggle with it.
There are a huge number of benefits of saliva in the mouth. First of all, it increases the life of the tooth by neutralizing acids produced by bacteria. Apart from that, saliva can also enhance the ability to taste, limit bacterial growth and wash away any food particles.
At the same time, saliva in the mouth can also help humans chew food more easily and improve digestive power. Decreasing the levels of saliva and dry mouth can have a major impact on the health of a person.
Symptoms Of Xerostomia
Let’s start our learning of the day with the symptoms of Xerostomia. Learning about the symptoms of any disease can help you diagnose it as early as possible and consult with a healthcare professional.
As a thumb rule, the treatment of any disease in the world is going to be very easy in the early stages.
If you are struggling with any physical problem, then you should consult with your healthcare provider as early as possible because healthcare professionals can even treat cancer at the first stage without doing any major procedure.
One of the major symptoms of Xerostomia is going to be the dryness or the feeling of stickiness in your mouth. Health experts around the world say that it is the most common symptom, and every person who has ever been diagnosed with the disease has experienced it once.
Dryness in your mouth can also feel like stickiness. You are not going to feel completely dry, but there will be a lack of saliva whenever you try to feel it. It is also going to be your first sign before you start developing any other symptoms or major health issues. You can consult it with your health care provider as early as possible.
Along with the dryness in your mouth, you might also experience thickness in your saliva. Usually, people experience dryness as a first symptom and thickness in their saliva as the 2nd. The lack of production of saliva in your mouth is going to create the thickness in the saliva which is already in your mouth. Eventually, the saliva in your mouth will start to feel thicker.
Bad breath is another major symptom of Xerostomia. Usually, bad breath is caused by the lack of saliva in your mouth. As you are already aware, saliva in your mouth is capable of washing out any bacteria or food particles.
Once there is not enough saliva in your mouth to wash out food particles or bacteria, then the food is going to roast, and you will start experiencing bad breath. In case you are experiencing bad breath without any reduction in the levels of saliva, then it could also be due to other reasons.
Along with bad breath and dryness in the mouth, people who are going through Xerostomia can also experience several difficulties related to the mouth. Health experts around the world have suggested that a lack of saliva can also cause difficulty while chewing your food. If you are struggling to chew your food, then it can also make it very hard for you to swallow it.
At the same time, it can also cause difficulty while speaking. If your tongue is not able to get enough lubrication from saliva or water, then it is going to dry, and you will find it very hard to move like you used to do.
Changed Sense of Taste
As you might already be aware, saliva is also known to increase the capabilities of tasting. Once there is not enough saliva available in our mouth, our sense of taste is also going to decrease. Even though you will be able to revive it temporarily after using some water, you have to look for the root cause and try to increase the natural production of saliva in your mouth.
Others Come From
Apart from all other different symptoms, some symptoms might be associated with Xerostomia. Health experts believe that people who are struggling with dry mouth can also experience lips sticking to the teeth without any reason. There is a probability that you might also experience dry or sore throat along with a dry tongue.
All of the above-given symptoms are also associated with several other diseases, and you should not self-diagnose yourself with Xerostomia. You should always consult with your healthcare provider.
Major Causes of Xerostomia
Before we move to the treatment options, let’s look at the major causes of Xerostomia. Health experts around the world, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, believe there could be thousand different reasons that a person might be experiencing dry mouth.
You can get dry mouth if you do not have enough fluids, but the major cause of Xerostomia is taking other medications. Several over-the-counter medications for general diseases might have side effects, which include dry mouth.
Several antidepressants, high blood pressure, and anxiety medication can have side effects, including Xerostomia. in case you are already taking any medication, then you should try to drink as much fluid as possible at regular intervals.
The person can also play a major role in several things, including the production of natural saliva in the mouth. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believe that people of advanced age can experience dry mouth or Xerostomia.
Not every older person needs to be going to experience dry mouth, but certain medications, inadequate nutrition, and long-term health problems can increase the risk of dry mouth.
Other Health Conditions
People who are already struggling with any injury or who recently had surgery can experience nerve damage, decreasing the production of natural saliva in the mouth.
Apart from that, how did sports believe that diabetes, stroke, yeast infection, and Alzheimer’s disease can also cause conditions like Xerostomia? There is some evidence that autoimmune diseases, including HIV and aids, can also cause dry mouth.
Tobacco and Alcohol
Along with medication or different diseases, some things can cause dry mouth. Excessive use of tobacco and alcohol can also cause dry mouth or symptoms like dry mouth. People who take breaths with their mouths can also experience Xerostomia.
Treatment for Xerostomia
Before we wrap this session, let’s take a quick look at the treatment options for dry mouth or Xerostomia. Several different options your doctor can use as a treatment for dry mouth. Usually, it all depends on the cause of dry mouth.
- In case you aren’t taking any medication that might be causing dry mouth and your health expert will suggest alternative medicine.
- You might also prescribe some medication that can stimulate saliva or increase its production.
- Your dentist might also suggest you use fluoride trays to prevent your teeth from getting cavities.
- Your health expert might also suggest you make some changes in your lifestyle. First of all, you will be suggested to sip more water than you usually do.
- Apart from that, you might also be allowed to suck some ice chips throughout the day. You can also choose sugar-free gum, which can help you produce more saliva and prevent any cavities.
How to diagnose Xerostomia?
Usually, doctors can diagnose dry mouth by taking a look at your medical history along with all the medications you are taking right now. In some cases, your doctor might also suggest you go for a blood test, imaging scans of your salivary glands, or tests that measure how much saliva production is in your mouth.