How to Help Get Rid of Dry Mouth Symptoms
Dry mouth can be an ongoing problem for those who have it. It is also called xerostomia. In addition to just being a nuisance and causing bad breath, it can also make it harder to do ordinary things like eat, speak, and even digest food. One of the greatest problems, though, is the effect that it can have on your teeth.
Why Dry Mouth Is a Problem
Some bacteria in your mouth turn sugar into acid. The acid attacks the enamel on your teeth, which leads to pitting and thinning of the enamel. This will soon lead to a cavity. The same bacteria also cause gum disease – including periodontitis. Saliva helps keep the bad bacteria under control. The longer that you have problems with dry mouth, the more damage you will have to your teeth and gums.
Acidic foods and drinks, such as sodas and fruit juices, as well as coffee and tea, help to add acids to your mouth. This acid will also help to erode the enamel on your teeth and gums. Saliva, when there are sufficient amounts, helps to wash the acid away from your teeth.
Causes of Dry Mouth
There are several causes of dry mouth. They may include:
- Medications – Many medications (over 400 of them) are capable of producing a dry mouth. In general, they include medications for high blood pressure, diuretics, NSAIDs, steroids, antihistamines, antidepressants, and more.
- Medical Diseases – Several diseases often result in the dry mouth syndrome, including diabetes, anemia, deficiencies in nutrition, autoimmune disorders, Parkinson's, depression, some cancers and cancer treatments, and more.
Natural Remedies for Dry Mouth
When your mouth is not producing enough saliva to eliminate your dry mouth symptoms, there are some dry mouth remedies that you can use to help. They include:
- Reduce your intake of caffeine – it is a diuretic and helps your body eliminate urine – making your mouth drier.
- Sip water regularly– make sure you are drinking water throughout the day. Keep it with you. Also, keep a glass of water at your bedside for when you wake out of sleep with dry mouth and lips.
- Chew sugar-free gum – chewing sugar-free gum will help your mouth produce more saliva. Look for gum with xylitol, a sugar substitute that does not encourage the production of more acid.
- Avoid drinks with a lot of sugar – this includes sodas, as well as juice drinks and other drinks, such as coffee with a lot of creamers, etc. The sugar spurs the production of more acid.
- Stop using tobacco of any kind – tobacco reduces your production of saliva, and also reduces your immune system in your gums.
- Breathe through your nose – breathing through your mouth will dry out your mouth further, making it even worse. If you cannot breathe through your nose due to allergies, see a doctor for relief.
- Get a humidifier – if you notice that your dry mouth problems are worse at night, adding a humidifier to your bedroom can help add moisture into the air.
- Change medications – many medications, as mentioned above, can cause dry mouth. If your symptoms started after starting a new medication, or if you believe a medication is causing it, talk to your doctor about a different prescription.
- Cut back on alcohol consumption – alcohol will help dry out your mouth and body faster than most anything. Eliminate it completely for best results. Watch out for mouthwashes with alcohol in them – some mouthwashes contain some alcohol in them. Alcohol will only make a dry mouth worse.
While you have dry mouth, it is even more important to maintain good dental health. Start by making sure that you follow a daily routine of brushing your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes each time, and by flossing before you go to bed.
Get Regular Dental Checkups
Effective dry mouth treatment makes it necessary that you keep an eye on the condition of your teeth. A dentist can do this best and help provide you with proper dental care as needed. When problems with your teeth or gums develop, they can be treated before they become serious – and costly. For best results, you should visit your dentist at least twice a year.
If you live in the Carrollton, TX or Grapevine, TX areas, you can get dental checkups and care for dry mouth by Dr. Kumar T. Vadivel, DDS, FDS RCS, MS, a Board-certified Periodontist. He also provides a wide range of dental services that can be of help to you and the whole family. For more information about his dental services, or to set up an appointment, you can call his office today at (817) 756-8578.