Dry Mouth: A Complex Oral Problem
Your oral health is important in having a good disposition in life. You can get a lot of discomfort if you have one or more problems in your mouth. It can make you irritable and unfriendly. You can miss a lot of enjoyment and even important events if you don’t have a healthy mouth.
Dry mouth is one of oral health problems which are caused by several different conditions. The main reason for this condition is the low production or absence of saliva. There are several health problems that contribute to this condition.
What is dry mouth?
Dry mouth is medically termed as xerostomia which is characterized by absence of saliva. Without saliva, one will have difficulty in chewing, swallowing and speaking. Halitosis or severe bad breath is a complication of this. Cavities of the teeth will increase tremendously because the cleaning effect of the saliva to the enamel is diminished and hence accumulation of bacteria. The mucosa of the oral cavity or the inner walls of the cheek has become more susceptible to infection. Smoking and alcohol consumption can increase the intensity of this problem.
There are a lot of health problems that causes dry mouth. Some of these are HIV, AIDS, low white blood cell count, diabetes and syndromes like Sjogren’s and Lambert-Eaton’s.
What is the treatment for this?
As mentioned previously, dry mouth is a result of several factors. Management of this situation involves:
• Knowing the causative health problem and treating it. If the problem is a result of HIV, management for this should be made to eliminate dry mouth. Also, if this is because of diabetes, proper diet and corresponding medications should be administered to the patient. The collaboration of the physician and dentist will make this problem less likely to become severe.
• Preventing tooth decay. With the absence of saliva, the teeth become prone to bacterial attack because the antibacterial properties of the saliva are lessened or even, absent. Good brushing habits and more frequent dental visits and cleanings should be developed to avoid fungal and bacterial infection in the mouth.
• Drinking more water. Since you can feel the effect of dry mouth all the way up to the throat, soreness in this part can be felt. By drinking water, you can have a replacement to lessen the soreness.
• Finding ways to increase saliva production. Think of ways to stimulate salivary gland by smelling unripe mangoes or lemon. Your senses can send signal to your brain that will command your salivary gland to increase its production. You can also chew sugar-free gum to enhance salivary production. There are also lozenges you can use that stimulate saliva production.
• Medications that increase salivary activities. There are already drugs that can stimulate the production of saliva. Talk to your physician about it. Make sure there are no contraindications with other medications you are taking or other health issues you may have. Also, inquire about the side effects and have your immunity checked if you can endure it.
Saliva is often dreaded by those who do not understand its importance to their oral health. Dry mouth cause by its absence is a very difficult condition. Finding the causative health disorder that caused low saliva production is one way of curing it. Dry mouth is a complication of a much greater health problem.
By Ladan Zinati