Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, is a common condition where the salivary glands in your mouth do not produce enough saliva to keep your mouth wet. Saliva enhances your ability to taste, removes debris and bacteria, and makes it easier to chew and swallow. If you experience consistent dry mouth, reach out to your dentist for an evaluation.
What Can Cause Dry Mouth Symptoms?
Drugs prescribed by your doctor and over-the-counter brands might cause dry mouth; some common ones include antidepressants, decongestants, and antihistamines. While taking these, the body may have to work harder to process the medication, causing dehydration.
If your medication is the cause, talk to your doctor about using a lower dose or switching to an alternative medication. If this isn’t possible, talk to your dentist about specialized mouthwash or other possible treatments. You can also chew sugarless gum or drink lots of water to combat the issue.
While a senior’s medication is usually the cause for dry mouth, there are other reasons it can develop; some include menopause, infections, or diabetes. A lack of saliva causes food particles to stick to the teeth and bad breath. If you wear dentures, they can become loose or cause sores in the mouth.
To prevent xerostomia, seniors should stay hydrated throughout the day, especially during the day; avoid caffeine and alcohol since they can dry out the mouth. Elderly loved ones can also use a humidifier at night to add moisture to the air they breathe in.
Some lifestyle choices affect how much saliva you make. If you’re an avid runner, for example, you’ll be inhaling through the mouth as you jog. To prevent dry mouth after an intense workout, drink plenty of water.
What you consume also influences saliva production. Salty snacks, like pretzels, and spicy foods can cause dry mouth; instead, you should choose fibrous foods, like apples and celery, that scrub away bacteria. Smoking can also cause dry mouth; the nicotine in tobacco reduces saliva flow. The best way to prevent xerostomia is to stop smoking altogether.
If you’re suffering from dry mouth, visit Richmond Hill Family & Cosmetic Dentistry. Their approachable and family-oriented staff has been providing affordable and professional dental care for over 30 years. They use state-of-the-art technology and techniques to give all their patients the best quality care. Ask your dentist about dry mouth at your next routine checkup for more resources and information. To schedule an appointment, call (912) 756-3880 or visit their website to learn more about their services.