Dry mouth occurs when there is not enough saliva production in the mouth. Salivary production can decrease due to medications, cancer or other pathology, alcohol-containing mouth rinses, medical conditions, illegal drugs or medical treatments such as radiation therapy. Not only is dry mouth uncomfortable, it can also make teeth more susceptible to decay due to lack of washing by saliva.
What causes dry mouth? Dry mouth or xerostomia is due to salivary gland shutdown, decreasing the amount of saliva flow inside of your mouth. It can be due to uncontrolled or underlying health conditions, but may also be associated with common everyday prescription medications, nutritional practices and the oral hygiene products that you use. Dry mouth can also appear suddenly, such as with anxiety or nervousness.
Signs And Symptoms
The signs and symptoms of xerostomia are very straightforward:
- Dry mouth
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing
- Oral tissues such as lips and cheeks sticking together
- Redness or irritation of the oral tissues
- Increase in tooth decay
- Gum disease
- Oral ulcers
- Bad breath or halitosis
- Inhibited sense of taste
Dangers And Health Risks
Our body produces saliva to keep the mouth lubricated throughout the day. This allows us to speak properly, chew and swallow our food, and reduce the amount of tooth decay by keeping a constant flow of saliva over the surfaces of the teeth. When we have a decreased amount of saliva in our mouth it can cause problems like raw, sore gums or tongue and an increased level of tooth decay.
Erosion of the teeth and gums may occur due to lack of lubrication in the mouth. A decrease in saliva may also contribute to periodontitis or gum disease, due to the bodys inability to protect the areas around the teeth from increased plaque buildup.
Dry mouth can also sometimes be a warning sign for conditions such as:
- Sjgrens syndrome
- Lambert-Eaton syndrome
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