A human body produces an average of one to two liters of saliva every day. Saliva is produced more in the late afternoon and less during the night. That’s why we experience dry mouth in the mornings. But about 30 million Americans don’t have enough saliva production, day or night.
What is Xerostomia?
Xerostomia refers to a condition in which your salivary glands don’t produce enough saliva and leave your mouth dry. It is commonly found among older adults. People with dry mouths find it very hard to eat, swallow, speak, and wear their dentures. Some may even experience changes in taste.
A dry mouth can range from mild to something that has a major effect on your entire health and your appetite. If diagnosed early, you can prevent many dental issues.
What Causes It?
Perhaps medication is the most common cause of xerostomia. There are around 500 medications that have this side effect. Patients who take multiple prescriptions often experience xerostomia. In such cases, the medicine is necessary, but the side effects can cause other major issues.
Some Medical Conditions
Several diseases can cause xerostomia, including Sjogren’s Syndrome, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, sarcoidosis, cystic fibrosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and Parkinson’s disease.
Radiation and Chemotherapy
When cancer patients are given radiation to their head and neck areas, it can cause damage to their salivary glands. This will result in a permanent low production of saliva. Also, some types of chemotherapy may reduce the moisture flow in your mouth.
If you had been through surgery or had an injury to specific nerves, you would experience dry mouth.
How to Manage It
Drink Plenty of Water
Whether you have a dry mouth or not, you must hydrate your mouth. Always carry a water bottle and sip now and then.
Reduce Alcohol and Caffeine
When you’re thirsty, drink water instead of tea or coffee. Drinking alcohol, smoking, or using tobacco products can cause dry mouth.
If a particular medicine is causing you dry mouth, then it’s better to talk to your physician and change it.
Try Saliva Substitutes or New Medications
You can use Xylimelts, which, when placed inside your cheek, will moist your mouth. While talking to your doctor, you’ll also find a prescription that stimulates saliva production.
Covington Signature Dentistry provides the best dental care. If you have any questions or need a dental checkup, call us at (253) 638-9955 or visit us at 27121 174th Place SE, Suite 202, Covington, WA 98042.