Believe it or not, saliva plays an essential role in your health. Not only does it help cleanse the mouth, but it also helps digest food. Saliva also helps keep infections at bay by keeping bacteria and fungi under control. When saliva production is slowed or halted, the mouth quickly dries out and becomes uncomfortable.
Dry mouth, known as xerostomia, occurs when saliva production shuts down. In some cases, the condition is temporary, and a glass of water can eliminate the problem.
In chronic cases, however, treatment becomes a bit more complicated. Thankfully, several remedies can help chronic dry mouth patients find relief.
What Causes Dry Mouth?
Some things, including the following, can cause this problem:
- Dehydration – Dry mouth is sometimes the result of dehydration caused by a fever, diarrhea, vomiting, sweating, burns, and loss of blood.
- Nerve damage – Nerve damage to the neck and head area can also cause dry mouth.
- The side effects of medical treatment – Certain medical procedures, such as chemotherapy and radiation, can cause damage to the salivary glands and slow down saliva production.
- The side effects of medication – Certain medications can also cause this problem, especially those used to treat allergies, colds, anxiety, pain, and depression. In some cases, dry mouth is a side effect of certain sedatives and muscle relaxers.
- Lifestyle choices – Smoking or chewing tobacco can also affect the amount of saliva the mouth produces. These habits can also exacerbate the problem if you already suffer from chronic dry mouth.
- Surgery – If your salivary glands were surgically removed, the dry mouth would likely be a problem.
What Are The Main Symptoms?
The most commonly dry mouth symptoms include:
- A dry, red and raw tongue
- Increased thirst
- The dry, sticky feeling
- Sore throat
- Bad breath
- Dry nose
- Burning sensation in the mouth
- Mouth sores or split skin at the corners of the mouth
Chronic Dry Mouth Remedies
When it comes to chronic dry mouth, the most significant concerns are preventing tooth decay, increasing the flow of saliva, and addressing any underlying medical conditions that may be causing the problem.
There are several ways to treat this condition and minimize the risk of tooth decay.
1. Restoring Electrolytes – If dehydration is causing your problem, restoring electrolytes can help eliminate the problem. Mix:
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- 8 oz. of water
- Freshly squeezed lemon, lime or orange
- Drink one cup per day to help alleviate dry mouth symptoms.
2. Eat Hydrating Foods – Water-logged foods, like celery, cucumber, and watermelon, help stimulate the saliva glands and keep the mouth hydrated.
3. Stay Hydrated – If you’re suffering from chronic dry mouth, staying hydrated becomes even more critical. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your mouth moist. Avoid or cut back on alcohol, soda, coffee, and sugary juice drinks as they make the problem worse.
4. Change Your Breathing Habits – Breathe through your nose instead of your mouth. This will prevent your mouth from drying out.
5. Humidify the Room – If you live in an area with dry air, use a humidifier to add moisture to the sky. Your home’s humidity levels play a significant role in the development of the dry mouth. The air tends to be the driest during winter when forced-air heating is used.
Preventing dry mouth is the key to minimizing the risk of tooth decay and a host of other oral health issues.
Avoiding sugary and acidic foods is essential.
Drinking plenty of water and practicing good oral hygiene can also help you with the battle against chronic dry mouth.
Always consult your dentist first.