Dry mouth isn’t just uncomfortable, it can be damaging to your health and well-being. Whether you’re taking over-the-counter medications or prescriptions, being proactive about your dry mouth can save you time and money you might otherwise spend resolving the long-term problems dry mouth can lead to.
Do I have dry mouth?
Symptoms of dry mouth are, first and foremost, dryness in the mouth or throat, but can also include:
- Saliva that is thick or stringy
- Bad breath
- Difficulty chewing, speaking, or swallowing
- Changes in your sense of taste
- Problems with dentures
- Gum irritation
Who gets dry mouth?
The most common sufferers of dry mouth are those who take certain medications with side effects that cause any of the symptoms listed above. The most common medicinal culprits are those prescribed for anxiety or depression, nerve pain, or some muscle relaxants, pain medications, and decongestants or antihistamines. You’re at additional risk for dry mouth if you are a cancer patient undergoing chemotherapy, or if you chew or smoke tobacco.
If you take over the counter medication or allergies, or prescription medication for anxiety or depression, make sure you monitor your side effects and treat dry mouth symptoms with care.
Complications of dry mouth can be long lasting and difficult to handle. Most common dry mouth symptoms include:
- Tooth decay
- Gum disease
- Mouth sores
- Split skin or cracked lips
- Poor nutrition
What do I do if I have dry mouth?
Treatments for dry mouth can be manifold and vary depending on the severity of your discomfort. For most cases of dry mouth, medications are unnecessary and symptoms can be treated at home. These minor treatments can include:
- Sipping water or sugar-free drinks to keep your mouth hydrated, especially while eating to aid in chewing and swallowing
- Chewing sugar-free gum
- Breathing through your nose
- Using a humidifier
- Moisturizing your lips
- Avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco
- Avoiding sugary or overly acidic foods
- Avoiding antihistamines or decongestants, especially if you notice your dry mouth symptoms worsen after taking these medications
For more severe cases of dry mouth, medications can be prescribed. Make sure you chat with your doctor before trying these treatments.
- Changing out your medication that causes dry mouth
- Using a medication that stimulates saliva or acts as a saliva substitute
- Brushing with fluoride toothpaste, gel, or rinse
- Using an overnight fluoride tray
If you suffer from dry mouth or think you have its symptoms, make sure to see your doctor right away before the condition worsens, and check in with your dentist at least twice a year. For more information on dry mouth and the medications that cause it, contact our office in Aurora today!