Why Is My Mouth So Dry?

Many people do not understand the real importance of saliva. Not only does it keep the mouth wet, but it also helps digest food, protects teeth from decay, makesswallowing easier, and prevents infection by inhibiting growth of bacteria and fungi. You may end up developing infections if your mouth is dry. In the absence of enough saliva, you will fail to chew your food properly that in turn will keep you from getting the nutrients you need. Unfortunately, some people do not produce enough saliva and wondering why is my mouth dry?

Why is My Mouth So Dry?

You will end up having a dry mouth when you do not produce enough saliva. It happens due to a condition called xerostomia. People with this condition often find it difficult to speak and are often suffering from malnutrition. Any salivary gland dysfunction can also cause throat and mouth disorders that may affect the quality of your life. About 10% of people worldwide have this condition and it is less prevalent in men than in women. Elderly people are more at risk but those who take prescription or non-prescription medications quite often may also find themselves asking“why is my mouth so dry”?

You may experience dry mouth due to a number of reasons, such as:

  • Medication: A long list of medication is there that leads to dry mouth. The most common culprits are the drugs used to treat nerve pain, depression, and anxiety. Some decongestants, antihistamines, and muscle relaxants may also have the same side effect.
  • Aging: You are more likely to develop dry mouth as you grow old, and that may be due to certain medications you take to treat specific health conditions.
  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy drugs have an impact on the nature of saliva. This may be permanent or temporary. It is more likely to be permanent when radiation treatment damage salivary glands.
  • Nerve damage: A surgery or injury that damages nerve in your neck or head may result in dry mouth.
  • Tobacco use: You increase your risk for developing dry mouth if you chew or smoke tobacco.
  • Other health conditions: Dry mouth may indicate other health conditions, such as HIV/AIDS and Sjogren's syndrome. Similarly, Alzheimer's disease and stroke may also change the amount of saliva produced. Your mouth will also become dry if you breathe with your mouth open or snore while sleeping.

Symptoms of Dry Mouth Syndrome

You will experience certain symptoms due to your dry mouth. They include bad breath, dry tongue, saliva that feels stringy or thick, mouth ulcers, high rate of tooth decay, dry lips, and susceptibility to oral thrush infections. You may also find your tongue stick against the roof of your mouth and even face often, and experience problems with swallowing or chewing food. A burning sensation in the mouth is also common.

What Can I Do About My Dry Mouth?

Self-Care Suggestions

Once you have the answer to the question “why is my mouth so dry”,you may want to know exactly what you can do to fix the issue. Here are some suggestions:

  • Sip water or suck ice chips throughout the day to keep your mouth moist. Also, drink water with your meals to aid swallowing.
  • Suck on sugar-free hard candies may help. Just keep in mind that candies and gums containing Xylitol may lead to cramps or diarrhea when consumed in large amounts.
  • Try over-the-counter saliva substitutes that contain hydroxyethyl cellulose or carboxymethyl cellulose.
  • Learn to breathe through your nose with your mouth closed all the time. If you snore while sleeping, you may need to seek treatment for it first.
  • Install a room humidifier to add some moisture to the air.
  • Eat food that requires chewing to help stimulate the flow of saliva, such as fruits and vegetables.
  • Do not eat crunchy food that may hurt the mouth, such as potato crisps or crackers.
  • Avoid drinking acidic beverages or eat acidic food, such as citrus fruits and soft drinks.
  • Do not use mint mouthwashes or mint lollies because they can aggravate dry mouth tissue and lead to tooth decay.

If you already have dry mouth syndrome, it is important to make some changes to your lifestyle to deal with it more efficiently. For instance:

  • Brush your teeth daily and floss at least twice a day.
  • Use products that contain fluoride to protect your teeth.
  • Talk to your doctor about any precautions to take when you wear dentures, and take them out while you sleep.

Medical Treatment

When homecare measures do not work, and you still ask “why is my mouth so dry”, you may want to seek medical treatments instead.

  • Check if you are taking certain medications that cause dry mouth. Tell your doctor about your dry mouth and they will change medications or adjust your dosage to help prevent dry mouth.
  • Your doctor will prescribe some products that will help keep your mouth wet. These products may include PTC mouth rinses, moisturizers, or artificial saliva.
  • Your doctor may prescribe medications that stimulate saliva. They may give you cevimeline or pilocarpine to encourage saliva production.
  • Your doctor may decide to fit you for fluoride trays, which may help prevent cavities. You need to wear these over your teeth for a few minutes every night.
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