Having a dry mouth can be quite uncomfortable, unpleasant and limits normal daily functions like eating and speech. The sensation of a dry mouth is usually caused by a lack of saliva. This lack of saliva is not only uncomfortable but also increases the risk of many oral diseases such as tooth decay, gum disease and fungal infections.
What causes the lack of Saliva?
- In-adequate hydration
Adequate hydration is required to produce the large volume of saliva we need to produce each day. I recommend 1.5 to 2 litres of tap water daily. Tap water is almost the only drink that has a neutral pH.
Most drinks including fruit juice, soft drinks and energy drinks are both acidic (softening your valuable tooth enamel) and contain sugar. Tap water, as opposed to bottled water, also contains a low concentration of fluoride, which helps to harden tooth enamel.
- Stress, anxiety and depression
All can also reduce the production of saliva. Obviously if you suffer from any of the above you can take steps to remedy the situation. Meditation, yoga and relaxation therapy are all helpful. Talking to a psychologist may also be invaluable.
As we age, the salivary glands (like the rest of our body!) stop working as well. The reduction in salivary flow can be quite dramatic. This results in an increase in tooth decay along the root surfaces of a tooth, typically seen in the elderly.
Many medications also have the untoward effect of reducing our saliva production. These include tablets for blood pressure, epilepsy, sinus congestion/runny nose, and depression, to name a few.
In addition the number of medications makes a big difference. The more different types of medication a person takes, the greater the likelihood they will suffer from a dry mouth. Head and neck radiation treatment for cancer: The radiation damages the sensitive salivary glands, which produce saliva and can render them non-functional.
- Sjogren’s syndrome
A dry mouth can be a symptom of a general health problem called Sjogren’s syndrome. This Syndrome typically presents with other symptoms such as skin rashes, dry itchy eyes & swollen tender glands around the face.
As I mentioned earlier, a dry mouth can be quite debilitating. So far I have discussed the causes of a dry mouth. Next week I will discuss some of the methods for the management of a dry mouth that I recommend to my patients.
Visit Alex Bratic Dental Care today for Dry Mouth Solutions
Alex Bratic Dental Care is conveniently located on City Road at Beenleigh. We are close to transport and our onsite parking is free and very easy to access.
For all Health Fund Members our HICAPS facility enables payments to be processed at the time of the appointment, which means members, are only required to pay the difference between the charged fee & the Health Fund Rebate (gap fee).
Contact us on (07) 3287 2627 or simply book your appointment online.