Dry mouth problems are also known as xerostomia. Normally, human salivary glands produce about four to six cups of saliva every day, but when this quantity drops substantially, dry mouth symptoms may develop rapidly.
Signs of dry mouth can vary from moderate dryness to pain and burning in the mouth. Since saliva is necessary for chewing, swallowing, tasting, and talking, these tasks can become more strenuous with a dry mouth. It can result in pain or perhaps a burning sensation in the mouth or on the tongue.
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Saliva helps maintain a healthier balance of bacteria in the mouth. Without enough saliva, the bacteria along with other microorganisms in the mouth grow too soon. This could cause sores and mouth diseases, including thrush, which is due to an overgrowth of yeast. Spit also washes away acids and food contaminants left in the mouth after eating.
It can also cause halitosis, gum disease and tooth decay. It might lead to changes in an individual's dietary routines which could adversely affect their nutritional intake, taste, and hinder one's capability to wear complete or partial dentures.
The most common reason for dry mouth is the aging process. The aging process may cause the saliva glands to develop less saliva, and as one ages the amount of drugs one uses also increases. These drugs can cause dry mouth.
These drugs include allergy medicines, anti depressives, blood pressure medicines, and diuretics, only to mention a few. Alcohol-based mouth rinses can also cause dry mouth.
Some less common causes are chemotherapies and radiation therapies to the mouth, neck and head areas, specific chemotherapy agents, patients struggling with Sjogrens Syndrome, diabetes mellitus, along with other autoimmune diseases.
Even though dry mouth can not be prevented, some treatments might help. Medicines that prevent or lessen the adverse effects of chemo like amifostine help to treat dry mouth.
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Saliva replacements and mouth rinses with hyetellose, hyprolose or carmellose also help. Medicines that stimulate the salivary glands like pilocarpine or cevimeline are also effective.
Other methods to stimulate the salivary glands, like sucking on sugar-free sweets or chewing sugarless gum help. Acupuncture might help people suffering from dry mouth.