What is Dry Mouth?
What is Dry Mouth? Dry mouth or xerostomia is a condition that can be experienced on an occasional time. Basically safe, but can be a worrying condition if it happens repeatedly or continuously. The cause of this condition can vary and is generally due to lack of saliva or saliva production due to dehydration of the body, as well as psychological disorders such as feeling nervous or anxious.
Saliva plays an important role in the health of our body, such as limiting the growth of bacteria, preventing tooth decay by neutralizing the acid produced by bacteria, helping to improve the performance of the tongue in tasting food, facilitating us in swallowing food, cleaning the mouth of food scraps, and aids digestion . Therefore if we lack of saliva, some of the problems that occur can be:
- Bad breath
- Dry lips
- Heat sensation in the mouth
- Disturbance to the taste senses
- Difficult eating and swallowing
- Difficult to talk
- Pain and infection in the mouth (eg oral cadisosis or fungal infection)
- The emergence of gum disease
- Tooth decay
The Cause of Dry Mouth
In addition to dehydration and psychological disorders (such as anxiety and nervousness), dry mouth or xerostomia may result from side effects of drugs, such as diuretic drugs, antihistamines, or antidepressants. In addition, it can be due to radiotherapy side effects on the head and neck that causes mucositis. Mucositis is an inflammation of the salivary glands.
Xerostomia can also occur when the nose is blocked so we are forced to breathe through the mouth (this usually happens during sleep).
Actually it is normal if we experience xerostomia when we are short of fluids or when we are feeling nervous and anxious. But if the xerostomia is constantly being experienced, it is most likely a symptom of an underlying condition, such as diabetes, Sjogren’s syndrome (autoimmune disease that damages the salivary glands), stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Dry Mouth Diagnosis
See your doctor if you are constantly experiencing dry mouth or xerostomia, when you are not dehydrated or not feeling anxious and nervous.
In addition to reviewing your medical history and any medications you may be taking, doctors may also perform other, more detailed examinations where necessary, such as tests to measure saliva production levels, scans to see the condition of salivary glands, blood tests, and gland biopsy saliva if xerostomia is suspected to be caused by Sjogren’s syndrome.
Dry mouth treatment
When you are experiencing dry mouth or xerostomia, try doing some home handling tips before seeing your doctor, such as drinking lots of water, sucking ice cubes, chewing candies, or chewing gum to stimulate the salivary glands to produce saliva. Try the candy or gum that we consume free from sugar.
If the above handling tips do not overcome xerostomia, see your doctor. Usually the doctor will prescribe medicines containing saliva substitutes in the form of candy, gel, or spray medication.
The success rate of treatment is determined by the accuracy of the diagnosis. Several types of treatments are tailored to the underlying conditions of xerostomia, among which are:
- Giving decongestants if xerostomia is caused by a blockage in the nose.
- Reduce the dose or replace the dry mouth causes cure.
- Insulin therapy if you have diabetes.
- Provision of a pilocarpine drug if dry mouth is caused by Sjo¨gren’s syndrome and radiotherapy side effects.