Does this sound familiar? You can’t seem to wet your whistle enough to swallow and you are more than just thirsty…your mouth is dry and sticky. Your saliva may also be stringy and thick – and to top it off, you have stinky bad breath and nothing seems to help.
Xerostomia, also called dry mouth syndrome, is a common health issue that arises from the reduction of saliva levels. Saliva is important because it produces enzymes that help you taste and digest food and it also keeps the bacteria in your mouth in check.
When you suffer from dry mouth, you may experience chronic bad breath, difficulty wearing dentures, a metallic or bitter taste in your mouth and difficulties eating or speaking.
Additionally, the skin around your mouth may be tight and dry; the corners of your mouth may get sore, your lips may crack and your tongue may feel rough and dry.
Your symptoms may worsen at night because saliva flow normally decreases when you sleep. Dry mouth can also make your voice rough and harsh and you may have a constant tickle in your throat. Chronic dry mouth may also contribute to gum disease and tooth decay.
What are some of the causes of dry mouth?
- Advancing age
- A temporary illness that requires the use of medications
- Smoking or using smokeless tobacco
- Use of certain medications such as antihistamines and some antidepressants
- Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy
- Autoimmune conditions like HIV or Sjogren’s syndrome
- Health issues like diabetes and Parkinson’s disease
If you are experiencing the symptoms of dry mouth, it’s important to get regular dental check-ups, brush and floss daily and rinse with a non-alcohol mouthwash. It also helps to sip water throughout the day. Sugar-free gum and candies can trigger your mouth to make more saliva.
If you would like to learn more about chronic dry mouth and discuss your symptoms with Drs. Lerner or Lemongello, call our offices for a consultation appointment. Dry mouth is a treatable condition and we can answer your questions and suggest solutions.