Xerostomia, or dry mouth, can occur due to several reasons, and can lead to numerous unpleasant side effects. If you experience dry mouth, your dentist can provide treatment that will help. There are also some at-home treatments that will help reduce your discomfort.
Causes of Dry Mouth
There are several causes of dry mouth, some of which are easier to treat than others. Some of the most common causes include:
• Side effects of medication
• Damage to the salivary glands
• Side effects of an underlying illness
• Tobacco use
Dry mouth caused by a medication can be treated while you are taking the medication, and will diminish after you are no longer required to take the medication. Some underlying illnesses or syndromes are long-term and so will require long-term treatment to alleviate symptoms. Systemic issues that can cause dry mouth include diabetes, hypertension, mumps, and Parkinson’s disease.
Untreated dry mouth can lead to an increased risk of gum disease and tooth decay, chronic bad breath, and persistent sores in the mouth.
Treatment for Dry Mouth
For minor cases of dry mouth, at-home treatment can alleviate symptoms. Be sure to drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration, practice regular dental hygiene, and use a humidifier in your room, especially at night. You can also chew gum to help stimulate saliva production, or use an over the counter medication that helps moisten the mouth.
For more severe cases of dry mouth, your dentist can provide prescription medication or a special mouthwash to keep your mouth moist. If your dry mouth is a side effect of a drug you are currently taking, your doctor or dentist might recommend changes in your dosage or even changing to a different medication to alleviate symptoms. If you are unaware of an underlying cause, diagnosing this cause can help determine appropriate long-term treatment.
If you are suffering from dry mouth and need treatment or an evaluation, please contact the downtown Toronto office of Dr. Nicholas Kemp to schedule a consultation today.