Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)
What causes dry mouth and how to get rid of it
Dry mouth (medically known as xerostomia) is a common condition that adversely affects dental health and increases bad breath. Having a dry mouth means you are producing less then normal levels of saliva. Saliva is very important in dental health because it cleanses the mouth by killing bacteria and by breaking down food particles and proteins that can lead to bad breath and tooth decay. About 20% in the general population suffers from chronic xerostomia, with increased prevalences in females (up to 30%) and the elderly (up to 50%). Everyone suffers from temporary dry mouth from time to time especially while sleeping when saliva production is reduced. It is important to reduce how dry your mouth is if you want to Get Rid of Bad Breath. In this article we are going to cover what the symptoms of dry mouth are, causes of dry mouth, and how to get rid of having a dry mouth.
Symptoms of a Dry Mouth
An obvious symptom of having a dry mouth is simply that: a constant feeling that your mouth is dry. The following other symptoms may arise from having a chronic dry mouth:
- excessive thirst
- a raw tongue
- lip sores
- dry lips
- difficulty swallowing
- sore throat and hoarseness
- bad breath
- difficulty speaking
- dry nasal passages
- bad morning breath
Causes of a Dry Mouth
There are many things that can lead to having a dry mouth.
Over 500 medications may lead to a dry mouth as a side effect. Sixty-three percent of the top 200 most commonly prescribed drugs in the United States are xerogenic (cause a dry mouth). The types of drugs that cause dry mouth are the following:
- blood pressure medications
- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories
Having a chronic dry mouth may also be caused by other medical conditions. Here is a list of conditions or diseases that are known to cause a dry mouth:
- radiation treatments to the head and neck
- salivary gland diseases
- hormonal imbalance
- Sjögren's syndrome
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Systemic lupus erythematosus
What you eat and drink may also affect the dryness of your mouth. Foods that are known to cause a dry mouth are:
- spicy foods
People who breath through their mouths the majority of the time often suffer from dry mouths.
As one gets older, age-related changes in the salivary gland tissues may lead to a modest reduction in salivary output. However, a major reason why older people have dryer mouths is because they are often taking more xerogenic (cause dry mouth) medications then younger people.
If your body is dehydrated your body will start to conserve water by producing less saliva.
Treatment for a Dry Mouth
In order to properly treat xerostomia, you need to figure out what is causing it for you. Examine closely the causes of dry mouth outlined above for anything you think may be causing your dry mouth. Make changes in your life as much as you can that will get rid of the causes. We will now talk about things you can do AFTER you have done all you can to minimize what is causing it. There are basically two things you can do to treat a dry mouth: You can use products that either are saliva substitutes or saliva stimulants.
These are products that have properties very similar to saliva. These include:
- water (increase fluid intake or increase the humidity in your living quarters by using a humidifier)
- artificial salivas (mucin-based, carboxymethylcellulose-based)
- other substances (milk, vegetable oil)
These are products that increase saliva production in your mouth. These include:
- organic acids (ascorbic acid, malic acid)
- chewing gum
- parasympathomimetic drugs (choline esters, e.g. pilocarpine hydrochloride, cholinesterase inhibitors)
- other substances (sugar-free mints, nicotinamide)
Here are some natural remedies you can use to eliminate dry mouth:
An effective natural treatment for dry mouth is goldenseal and baking soda. Mix one cup of liquid goldenseal with one tablespoon of baking soda and swish it in your mouth for a minute or two. Do not swallow. This helps to relieve inflammation and moisturizes the mouth.
Adding cayenne pepper to food or drinking half a teaspoon mixed into four ounces of water can help cure dry mouth naturally. This hot spice increases stimulates saliva production, improves circulation, reduces inflammation and helps boost the immune system.
Aloe Vera Juice
Aloe vera is a natural anti-inflammatory and a moisturizer. Mix with water until it has a desirable consistency and wish it in your mouth for a minute or two.