If you notice that you have a decrease in the amount of saliva in your mouth, you may have a condition known as dry mouth. It usually causes one to feel discomfort and to have difficulty swallowing, chewing, etc. You may also feel that your tongue is rough and dry and that your throat feels parched. Occasionally you may develop mouth sores. Often, we notice that over time, a dry mouth can result in greater incidence of tooth decay.
The condition may be caused by certain medications such as those used to treat high blood pressure and depression. It can also be caused by medical treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy. There are some diseases that affect the salivary glands. Sjogren’s syndrome, HIV, and diabetes have all been found to cause dry mouth.
Let your physican and/or dentist know if you are experiencing dry mouth so that they can determine the cause. Your physician or dentist can prescribe a medicine that can help your salivary glands to function better. They may also recommend artificial saliva.
Things that you can do to help would be:
- Sip water frequently.
- Decrease intake of caffeinated beverages that are known to dehydrate. This includes coffee, tea, and soda.
- Chew sugarfree gum which helps increase saliva flow.
- Avoid tobacco and alcohol which dry the mouth. Try especially to avoid mouthwashes that contain alcohol.
- Use a humidifier in the home particularly at night.