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Dry mouth; causes, symptoms and how to treat

Xerostomia is defined as a dry mouth resulting from reduced or absent saliva flow. Xerostomia is not a disease, but it may be a symptom of various medical conditions, a side effect of a radiation to the head and neck, or a side effect of a wide variety of medications.

People taking prescribed and non-prescribed drugs are at a higher risk of developing xerostomia.  It can also be caused by anxiety disorders, poorly controlled diabetes or autoimmune disorders such as Sjogren’s syndrome to name a few.

Dry mouth can lead to an increased risk of tooth decay, gum disease and a range of other illnesses affecting the soft tissues of the mouth.

Symptoms of a dry mouth are as follows;

  1. Burning sensation within the mouth, especially of the tongue.
  2. Mouth may feel dry and sticky.
  3. May have trouble swallowing and speech may also be affected
  4. Tongue may look very red and feel quite raw.
  5. There can be sores in the mouth and lips may be dry and cracked

By following these simple steps, you can help reduce the symptoms and its effects;

  1. Chew sugar free gum throughout the day to help stimulate salivary flow
  2. Drink plenty of water to keep hydrated
  3. Brush with a fluoride toothpaste and use a fluoride mouthwash at a different time from brushing your teeth for added protection.
  4. Breathe through your nose and not your mouth as much as possible.
  5. Use a room vapouriser to add moisture to the bedroom air.
  6. Use over the counter artificial saliva substitute.




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