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Dry Mouth: Causes, Consequences, and Treatments

2019-07-26 13:21:00

Dry mouth (also called xerostomia) is a condition usually caused by poorly functioning salivary glands. Everyone gets a dry mouth occasionally, but xerostomia differs in that your mouth is dry most of the time. It feels sticky, and your tongue is like sandpaper. Dry mouth can cause cracked lips, sores in or around the mouth, and a throat that feels ticklish and hoarse.

Salivating is an important part of the digestive system. It helps you taste food and is the first process in breaking it down for digestion. More than this, dentists say saliva helps keep your mouth clean by flushing acid from the teeth to prevent cavities. It is critical to be aware of the difference between an occasional dry mouth and xerostomia.

Xerostomia isn't a disease but rather a symptom of other conditions, some of which can be quite serious. These conditions include rheumatoid arthritis, sleep apnea, Parkinson's, Diabetes, or hypothyroidism. In the past, dry mouth was associated with aging. After some research, it turns out that certain medications can cause dry mouth. Since seniors take more medicine than others, that myth has been debunked. Some common medications that are the culprit include painkillers, antihistamines, blood pressure medicine, diuretics, antidepressants, asthma drugs, and muscle relaxants.

Sometimes xerostomia is the result of nerve damage from a head or neck injury. Additionally, radiation for oral cancer and chemotherapy for other cancers can cause dry mouth. Lastly, a health condition called Sjögren's syndrome causes the tear and salivary glands to be attacked by white blood cells. Those afflicted may also have dry eyes and nasal passages.

Fortunately, GT Dental in Toronto, can effectively diagnose and treat xerostomia. After ruling out medication as the cause, we will begin to explore other health conditions as a possible cause. Your doctor and dentist can collaborate to find the best treatment for your dry mouth. They will take steps like treating the underlying cause, changing your medication, and prescribing medication for relief. If you suffer with xerostomia, contact us today to book an appointment to learn about possible treatment options. 

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