Dry mouth and parched throat can not only be annoying but it comes with a lot of harmful effects. Here’s an article throwing light on the causes, signs, and symptoms of a dry mouth along with tips on how to effectively manage it.
What causes dry mouth?
Dry mouth is the result of inadequate saliva production in the mouth. This can happen due to various reasons. The most common ones are listed below:
- Certain medications: Some of the prescription and non-prescription drugs (like anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medicines, antihistamines, decongestants, anti-psychotics, diabetes, and hypertension-related medicines) can cause dry mouth as a side-effect.
- Cancer therapy: Chemotherapy and radiation treatments, not only reduce the quantity of saliva but change it’s composition too. In addition to this radiation therapy damages the salivary glands thereby severely reducing the secretion of saliva, at times permanently.
- Mouth breathing: Breathing a lot with your mouth open, can cause the inner lining of mouth to get dry leading to symptoms like dry mouth.
- Dehydration: Conditions like low water consumption, abnormally excessive sweating, fever, diarrhea reduce the total water content in the body leading to dry mouth.
- Old Age: A lot of individuals suffer from dry mouth as they get older. This could be a result of multiple factors like inadequate water and food consumption, long-standing health issues and their medications, reduced ability of the body to produce saliva, so on and so forth.
- Hormonal changes: Severe hormonal shifts in women during their pregnancy and menopause, at times affect the salivary gland function and cause dry mouth. One thing to note here is that the probability and severity of the condition vary on a case to case basis.
- Nerve damage: Any injury that causes nerve damage in your head and neck area might affect the normal functioning of the salivary glands and cause dry mouth.
- Unhealthy lifestyle habits: Habits like smoking, excessive consumption of alcohol and caffeine, consumption of drugs like methamphetamine can cause severe dry mouth.
The most common symptoms of dry mouth are:
- Bad breath
- Dry and parched throat
- Tooth decay
- Discomfort while speaking
- Difficulty in swallowing food
- A changed sense of taste
- Difficulty wearing dentures
- Thick and sticky saliva
- Dry lips
- A sticky tongue that doesn’t glide easily.
- Gum diseases
- Mouth sores
Some home remedies to relieve symptoms of dry mouth are:
- Drinking water more frequently.
- Chewing sugar-free gum to promote saliva production.
- Using a humidifier in the house, especially at night.
- Consciously breathing through the nose.
- Trying over the counter saliva substitutes.
- Moisturizing lips at regular intervals.
- Substituting your medications ( with the consent of your health professional)
- Using a fluoride rinse to protect teeth.
When Should you see a professional?
If the symptoms refuse to subside after trying out the home remedies and over the counter drugs, it is time you see a health professional for a personalized treatment plan.
Hope this article was helpful. If you have any further questions regarding this topic, do let us know in the comment section. We’re happy to help.