Dehydration, the most common cause
It's a common problem that everyone experiences at one time or another: Dry mouth. For many people, it's just a minor annoyance, but the cause could be more serious than you think. Lack of fluids is one of the most common causes of dry mouth. That's why it's so important to drink plenty of water throughout the day - not just when you remember or get thirsty! As trite as it may sound, staying hydrated can help prevent a whole host of problems - from chapped lips to chronic dry mouth.
Other causes of dry mouth
The causes of dehydration aren't just because you're not drinking enough water! Certain medications, mouth breathing or even salivary gland problems can contribute to dehydration. Some common medications, such as diuretics, increase urine output and decrease a person's fluid levels. Poor sleeping habits such as breathing through your mouth instead of your nose can cause you to lose more fluid than normal. When our salivary glands are damaged or infected, it affects the amount of saliva our body can produce, which can make us feel dehydrated.
Sjögren's syndrome as a possible cause
Sjögren's syndrome is an autoimmune disease that can cause dry mouth. It is a chronic disease in which the immune system attacks the body's tear and salivary glands, resulting in decreased production of these fluids. This lack of moisture causes dry eyes, a dry mouth and other symptoms throughout the body. People with Sjögren's syndrome may suffer from constant thirst due to dehydration and have difficulty speaking or swallowing because their mouth is so dry. Treatment focuses on managing the symptoms by relieving the discomfort and offering strategies to prevent further damage to the affected tissues.
Side effects of dry mouth
A dry mouth is no joke. Not only can it make talking, eating and swallowing uncomfortable, but if left untreated it can cause serious problems for your throat. A dry mouth causes your saliva to evaporate faster than normal, leading to bad breath, hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, dental disease and even tooth decay. And dry mouth can also change your sense of taste.
If you suffer from low saliva because of medication, such as antihistamines or antidepressants, as well as a medical condition like thrush, you should talk to a healthcare professional right away. There are many treatments that can be recommended to keep your saliva production at a healthy level so that you don't have problems with oral hygiene later on.
Fight dehydration with home remedies
One of the most effective ways to stimulate your saliva flow is to stay hydrated. Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, spread throughout the day, and drink even more if you feel thirsty. Avoid drinks containing caffeine, alcohol and sugar, as these will only make the symptoms of dry mouth worse. Chewing sugarless gum, specifically ones with xylitol can also help to moisturise your persistent dry mouth. You can also use over-the-counter saliva substitutes. Those artificial saliva substitutes may come in the form of a gel, spray or lozenge.
Brushing your teeth twice a day and using an antibacterial mouthwash will help you to have good oral health, and enough saliva and prevent bad breath associated with dry mouth. When brushing your teeth, be sure to brush gently and not scrub too hard, as this can damage tooth enamel over time. Daily flossing is also important to reduce the build-up of plaque between teeth, which can lead to tooth decay if left untreated. There are also special kinds of toothpaste and gels that help against dry mouth. Moreover, you should also have regular dental checkups.
In addition to healthy oral hygiene habits, there are other lifestyle changes that can help you manage dry mouth symptoms. Avoid smoking, as it can damage the salivary glands and reduce saliva production; limit spicy foods, as they can cause irritation in the mouth or throat; limit acidic foods such as citrus fruits, as they can increase the acidity of your saliva; and avoid alcohol consumption, as it increases dehydration.
By now you should know more about dry mouth and how to combat dryness. Dehydration is the most common cause of dry mouth, but there are other causes such as certain medications, health conditions and salivary gland problems. If you don't fight dry mouth, it can lead to bad breath, gum disease and tooth decay. The good news is that it's easy to keep your mouth moist - just drink plenty of water and chew sugar-free gum or lozenges. So the next time you notice your mouth getting dry, take action immediately to avoid long-term consequences!