What is Dry Mouth and How to Treat It?
Xerostomia is the medical term for dry mouth. A dry mouth is a condition in which the salivary glands are not functioning properly, leading to less saliva in the mouth. A dry mouth can be temporary or long-term, depending on the cause. While short-term dry mouth symptoms are usually not a cause for concern, long-term dry mouth symptoms can be disruptive to everyday life and may lead to gum disease and tooth decay. Saliva acts as a natural cleanser for the teeth and gums. Without adequate saliva, dental issues may occur.
Causes of Dry Mouth
- Ageing (there is a higher risk of dry mouth with age)
- Certain medications (such as for high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, antihistamines, decongestants and pain medication)
- Certain autoimmune medical conditions (such as Sjogren’s syndrome, lupus, Eaton-Lambert syndrome and HIV)
- Bone marrow transplant patients
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Radiation treatment near the head and neck can permanently or temporarily damage the salivary glands.
- Lifestyle choices (such as smoking, drinking alcohol and recreational drug use)