According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, dry mouth, or xerostomia, which affects one in 10 people, is a problem caused when your body produces too little saliva. While we tend to take saliva for granted, it plays an important role in our oral health. Xerostomia can affect your quality of life as well as your overall health, so if you are affected, you should talk to your doctor or dentist to find a dry mouth treatment or cure for your individual case.
Causes of Dry Mouth
There is no single cause of dry mouth, so finding a dry mouth cure for your particular case will require finding its cause first. Most dry mouth cases are caused by medication. If you are taking doctor-prescribed medicine for diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, depression or allergies, check the side effects of the medication to see if dry mouth is listed. Talk to your doctor about your side effects to determine whether it is possible to change the medication. This would be the fastest way to a dry mouth cure.
While the use of medication is the most common cause of dry mouth, it is not the only cause. Dry mouth is also associated with connective tissue and immunological disorders like Sjögren’s syndrome. It also frequently affects those who have been treated with radiation therapy.
Cure or Treatment
Elimination of the cause of dry mouth is the only way to cure it. In cases of disease or radiation, or when cessation of the dry mouth-causing drug would be even more detrimental to your health, a cure isn’t currently possible. The best thing to do in these cases is to treat and help alleviate the symptoms of dry mouth.
Your doctor or dentist may offer a saliva substitute to help your symptoms, but there are other things you should do, and avoid, on your own as well.
- Chew gum during the day: Chewing gum can stimulate the production of saliva. Make sure it’s sugar-free to avoid creating dental cavities.
- Keep a bottle or glass of water nearby at all times: Sipping water regularly during the day will moisten your mouth.
- Humidify the air in your home: If you can’t humidify your whole home, turn on a humidifier in your bedroom at night to help alleviate your dry mouth symptoms.
- Drink a lot of coffee, tea or other caffeinated beverages: They can dry out your mouth even more.
- Breathe through your mouth: Breathe through your nose as much as possible to keep your mouth moist.
- Use mouthwashes with alcohol: While the use of an anti-microbial mouthwash is good to reduce harmful bacteria in your mouth, using a mouthwash that contains alcohol will dry out your mouth even more, according to Mayo Clinic.
- Smoke: Smoking is a sure way to further dry out your mouth!
Dry mouth can seriously affect your health and quality of life. If you’re concerned your dry mouth may be chronic, consult your dentist.