Do you feel like your mouth is so dry your tongue sticks to the roof of your mouth?
You may be suffering from xerostomia, better known as dry mouth. Dry mouth occurs when your salivary glands do not produce enough saliva to keep your mouth moist, and unfortunately this condition is a normal sign of aging.
Dry mouth can not only be uncomfortable, but can lead to serious health problems, as well. Dry mouth can cause difficulties in chewing, tasting and swallowing; it can increase the chance of developing dental decay and infections of the mouth; and it can also be a sign of certain diseases, too.
The symptoms of dry mouth can include:
- A burning or sticky or dry feeling in the mouth
- Trouble chewing, swallowing, tasting or speaking
- A dry feeling throat
- A dry, rough tongue
- Mouth sores
- Cracked lips
- An infection in the mouth
Saliva not only keeps our mouth wet, it also aids in digestion, protects teeth from decay, controls bacteria and fungi in the mouth thus preventing infection, and also makes it possible to chew and swallow food and drink.
Dry mouth can be caused by the following:
- Medications – more than 400 medicines can cause the salivary glands to secrete less saliva
- Disease – diseases such as diabetes, Sjogren’s Syndrome, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s can all cause dry mouth
- Radiation Therapy and Chemotherapy – cancer treatment and drugs can damage the salivary glands as well as make the saliva thicker which can cause the mouth to feel dry
- Nerve damage – an injury to the head or neck may damage the nerves that control the salivary glands
If you suffer from the symptoms of dry mouth, see your dentist or physician for diagnosis. Your doctor or dentist may prescribe a medication that will cause an under producing salivary gland to produce more saliva or suggest another solution to your problem.
Home remedies for improving dry mouth symptoms include sipping water or sugarless drinks often, avoiding caffeine, alcohol and tobacco as all of these substances dry out your mouth, and chewing sugarless gum or sucking on sugarless hard candy to stimulate the flow of saliva.
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