What You Should Know About Dry Mouth

Have you ever had that feeling that your mouth has dried up, that there is no saliva left? If so, you are certainly not alone. Most people will experience this sensation at least once in their lifetimes. It is commonly noted after participating in high-paced athletic events, in times of high stress, or when a person is feeling overly anxious. Unfortunately, for some people, the dry sensation does not go away. When this occurs, there is a problem to be addressed, because saliva plays a very important role in the body. Saliva helps to digest food, prevents decay, and staves off infection. Furthermore, much like a person attempting to go down a dry water slide, without saliva, swallowing becomes a major challenge.

It is not uncommon for dry mouth to be a warning sign for some other, more significant problem. For that reason, it is very important to see a dentist if symptoms persist. This can include a sticky or dry feeling in the mouth, trouble chewing or swallowing, an insatiable thirst, a burning mouth, the sudden appearance of mouth sores, or infection. Because dry mouth will generally begin as a very minor issue, many people will overlook it or let is become much worse before they seek treatment. Eventually, however, persistent dry mouth will make simple tasks, like tasting your favorite foods, chewing, swallowing, and even speaking, much greater challenges. That, alone, is enough to suggest the need for treatment, but dry mouth can also lead to serious decay, tooth loss, or wide spread infection. In some instances, the problem is merely a side effect of a particular medication. So, if you have started experiencing the symptoms shortly after starting a new prescription, a call to your physician may be enough to correct the issue. If that is not the case, then your best bet is a phone call to the dentist, who can help to determine the underlying issue and make suggestions on how to treat the symptoms.

In the meantime, while awaiting a scheduled appointment with a Waco dental office or while your medical team attempts to determine the cause, there are a few things that you can do to keep your mouth in working order. First and foremost, keep it as wet as possible. This means drinking water or sugar-free beverages throughout the day. However, try to avoid those containing caffeine as this can further dry the mouth. Chewing gum or sucking on hard candy (again, it is best to avoid those containing sugar) can promote saliva production, but it is best to avoid things like tobacco, alcohol, spicy foods, and salt. All of these can increase the problem. Finally, consider the use of a humidifier in your home to prevent your lips and mouth from becoming too dried out overnight. During this time, there will also be a severe risk of cavities, infection, and tooth loss. For this reason oral hygiene habits must be tip top. Use a soft bristled brush and a fluoridated toothpaste to clean the teeth after every meal. Floss each and every day. Opt away from sticky or sugary foods that will promote bacteria growth and ensure that you are seen by the dentist even more regularly, until the problem has been resolved.