Dry Mouth/ Xerostomia

What is Dry Mouth?                                                                    

Dry mouth, also called xerostomia, is the condition of not having enough saliva, or spit, to keep the mouth wet. 

Signs and symptoms of xerostomia may include:                          

  • Bad breath
  • Cheilitis – inflammation and fissuring of the lips
  • Cracked lips
  • Cracking and fissuring of the oral mucosa (inner lining of the cheeks and lips)
  • Dryness in the mouth
  • Dysgeusia – taste disorders
  • Fungal infections in the mouth, such as thrush
  • Glossodynia – painful tongue
  • Increased need to drink water, especially at night
  • Inflammation of the tongue, tongue ulcers
  • Lipstick sticking to teeth
  • More frequent gum disease
  • More tooth decay and plaque
  • Problems speaking
  • Problems swallowing and chewing – especially dry and crumbly foods, such as crackers or cereals.
  • Problems wearing dentures – problems with denture retention, denture sores and the tongue sticking to the palate.
  • Sialadenitis – salivary gland infection
  • Sore throat
  • Sticky saliva
  • Stringy saliva
  • The skin at the corners of the mouth may split, or be sore.

 Causes

  • Many over-the-counter and prescription medicines
  • Diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and Sjogren’s syndrome, can affect the salivary glands. 
  • cancer treatments and damage to the glands’ nerve system.  
  • Tobacco or smoking
  • Age
  • Sleep apnea or snoring

 Treatment

Depending on the cause of your dry mouth, Dr. Sahni can recommend appropriate treatment. There are also self-care steps you can take to help ease dry mouth, such as drinking plenty of water, chewing sugarless gum, and avoiding tobacco and alcohol.  Good oral care at home and regular dental check-ups will help keep your mouth healthy.