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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;
- Burning sensation within the mouth, especially of the tongue.
- Mouth may feel dry and sticky.
- May have trouble swallowing and speech may also be affected
- Tongue may look very red and feel quite raw.
- 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;
- Chew sugar free gum throughout the day to help stimulate salivary flow
- Drink plenty of water to keep hydrated
- Brush with a fluoride toothpaste and use a fluoride mouthwash at a different time from brushing your teeth for added protection.
- Breathe through your nose and not your mouth as much as possible.
- Use a room vapouriser to add moisture to the bedroom air.
- Use over the counter artificial saliva substitute.