Wednesday, December 19, 2018
What Is Dry Mouth and When Is It a Problem?
Many medications and illnesses have a side effect called "dry mouth". A lot of people don't understand what exactly dry mouth is and why it is a problem. If you have ever suffered from it though, you know it isn't pleasant and brings on even more issues. To help bring more clarity to this medical issue, here is an explanation of what dry mouth is, when it becomes a problem, and how it is treated.
What is Dry Mouth?
The condition of dry mouth is exactly how it sounds; the mouth feels dry. This is more than just your standard feeling you get when you're thirsty. Instead, the mouth feels dry all the time. Some of the symptoms that are:
· Frequently feeling thirsty, even after drinking
· A dry feeling throat that is often sore
· A sticky or dry feeling in the mouth
· Tongue looks red and raw and feels dry
· Sore in the corners of the mouth
· Cracked lips
· Odd burning and/or tingling feeling in the mouth and tongue
· Constant bad breath
· Difficulty speaking, tasting, swallowing, and chewing
· Dry nasal passages
· Periodontitis and Gingivitis, marked by red, bleeding gums
· Tooth decay
While everyone experiences these symptoms at one time or another, it isn't considered dry mouth until it is extreme or lasts for more than a few days.
Why is it a Problem?
The reason the mouth feels dry is that there isn't enough saliva being produced. This condition is not necessarily a major concern, but it depends on the circumstances. The doctor or dentist you visit will help find the root of the problem, which determines how much attention it needs. There are many reasons it comes, including:
· Side effect of a medication
· A sign of another health problem
If you are taking any medications, that is the first suspect to dry mouth. If that is ruled out, the amount of water you drink every day is examined. A physical exam may take place to rule out any major problems like nerve damage, malfunctioning salivary glands, diabetes, and oral cancer.
For many sufferers, the biggest problem of dry mouth is constantly feeling uncomfortable. The unquenchable thirst interferes with daily routines and the sores on the mouth hurt. It also interferes with wearing dentures. What's more is that saliva is vital to maintaining the pH balance in your mouth. It also helps wash away bacteria and food left in your mouth. Without enough saliva, your teeth are at a major risk for decay, gum disease, and infections, like thrush.
How is it Treated?
The first step is to talk to your doctor if you are taking any medications. They can help you make adjust your dose or switch brands to minimize the side effect. If not, another medication or mouth rinse can be used to increase saliva production or just restore moisture to the mouth. They can also run tests to make sure there are no underlying issues if medication isn't the source.
Talk to a dentist about possible causes and treatments as well. They will want to examine the damage done to your teeth and gums to make sure you are okay in those areas. Most dentists can do oral cancer screenings and prescribe mouth rinses too.
Other ways to boost saliva or general moisture in the mouth are to:
· Suck on candy or chew gum (sugar-free varieties, of course)
· Increase your water intake to keep the mouth moist
· Keep a vaporizer near you, to increase moisture in the air
· Try not to breathe through your mouth, but through your nose instead
· Use a saliva substitute that is found over-the-counter in most pharmacies
It is best to not let dry mouth go on for too long, if you can help it. Don't self-diagnose and treat without visiting your doctor or dentist to ensure that there are no major problems.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Anna_Bird/2355855
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