17 September 2008

Dry MouthDry mouth syndrome also known as xerostomia. It's dry and uncomfortable feeling in mouth caused by decrease in the amount of saliva. Xerostomia can be temporary or become chronic problem.

There are factors which can cause you salivary glands doesn't work improperly and produce a less saliva than normal.

Dry mouth syndrome is more likely to occur among older adults, but it can affect a person of any age.

Signs and Symptoms

If you experience any of the following symptoms on an ongoing basis, you should talk to your dentist about xerostomia.

Signs and symptoms of dry mouth syndrome include :
  • A dry, sticky feeling in the mouth or throat.
  • Insufficient saliva, thick and stringy.
  • A rough, dry tongue.
  • Sore throat.
  • Bad breath.
  • Difficulty swallowing, chewing or talking.
  • Cracked lips, sores or split skin at corners of mouth.
  • A burning sensation in the mouth.
  • infection in the mouth.
Causes of Dry Mouth Syndrome

Medications
  • Dry Mouth CauseAntihistamines and decongestants that are used to treat allergies and colds.
  • Antidepressants used to treat depression.
  • High blood pressure medication.
  • Muscle relaxants.
  • Medications for Parkinson's disease.
  • Pain killers.
  • Diuretics.
  • Certain cancer therapies (chemotherapy and radiation treatments near the salivary glands in the head and neck region)
Medical Conditions

Various medical conditions may contribute to or cause dry mouth syndrome includes :
  • Sj√∂gren's Syndrome (a chronic autoimmune disease affecting the moisture-producing glands, leading to dry eyes and dry mouth).
  • Diabetes.
  • Alzheimer's disease.
  • Stroke.
  • Other conditions.
Emotional Stress and Anxiety

If you are under stress or feeling anxious, you may experience dry mouth syndrome. Dry mouth symptoms can also occur as a result of hormone changes from pregnancy or menopause, as well as snoring or breathing with an open mouth.

Consequences of Dry Mouth Syndrome
  • Saliva is approximately 99% water, consisting of lubricants that help fight infection.
  • Insufficient saliva causes the soft tissues of the mouth to become irritated, making them inflamed and more susceptible to infection.
  • Tongue feel sensitive (burning tongue syndrome).
  • Teeth are more susceptible to dental cavities and tooth decay without saliva to wash away food debris and neutralize the acids produced by plaque.
  • Difficult to swallow, talk, chew food and less able to taste foods without the lubricating effect of saliva.
  • Throat may be sore and hoarse.
  • Nasal passages become dry.
Treatments of Dry Mouth Syndrome

Dry MouthDentist will examine your mouth for possible complications from dry mouth (cavities, irritation, infection), as well as ask you questions about the symptoms and any medications you are taking. Dentist may refer to a specialist, such as a periodontist but depends on the severity.

Dentist may recommend :
  • Sugar-free candy, sugar-free gum or gum specially made to stimulate saliva flow.
  • Sugar Free CandySpecially formulated oral rinses.
  • Artificial saliva (saliva substitute).
  • More fluid intake (frequent sips of water, sucking ice chips).
  • Oral moisturizers (sprays or gels).
  • Oral prescription medications to induce saliva production.
  • Alternative : acupuncture, nerve stimulation, tissue regeneration, gene transfer/DNA technology.
Self Treatment and Medication
  • Mouth FreshenerAvoid tobacco.
  • Limit the consumption of carbonated beverages or those containing caffeine or alcohol.
  • Twice-daily tooth brushing, using floss or interdental cleaners once a day.
  • See dentist for regular check up.

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