Among the most common, irritating and locally damaging oral afflictions is dry mouth. Chronic dry mouth is due to a lack of salivary flow.
Some common causes of dry mouth are:
- Side effects of beta-blockers
- Side effects of anti-hypertensives
- Side effects of diuretics
- Side effects of over the counter cold remedies
- Reaction to chemo therapy or radiation treatments
As our life expectancy increases, more Americans are taking medications and receiving medical treatments whose side effects include a reduction in salivary flow. The medications mentioned above, along with many others, may also drastically reduce salivary flow and cause chronic dry mouth.
Among the most common symptoms and complaints with chronic dry =mouth include, blisters and mouth ulcers, red and inflamed gums and mucosa, cracking at the sides of the mouth, bad breath, difficulty eating spicy foods, difficulty eating dry foods and a general sensation of a sore, sticky or dry mouth.
While very irritating, chronic dry mouth may also lead to periodontal disease and rampant tooth decay. It, therefore, is necessary to treat the causes as well as the symptoms.
If possible, a person should remove the causes that are causing dry mouth. In certain circumstances a patient’s doctor may be able to change medications or adjust dosages to minimize salivary flow reduction. However, in many cases that may be impossible.
There are many ways to treat the symptoms of chronic dry mouth which may alleviate both the irritation and the potential for periodontal disease or tooth decay. Your dentist may prescribe one of many oral rinses that are available. In addition, your dentist may recommend medications that act as artificial saliva or that may boost salivary production.
In addition, sufferers of chronic dry mouth should chew sugar free gum, suck on sugar free candy and drink plenty of fluids. Your dentist may also recommend using a fluoride rinse to minimize tooth decay.