Xerostomia, more commonly known as dry mouth, is a condition that affects, on average, about twenty percent of the adult population, and nearly fifty percent of the elderly population. It can be predicted, therefore, that as you get older, your chance of experiencing Xerostomia will increase. Dry mouth occurs when there is a marked reduction in saliva production.
Interestingly, the extent of Xerostomia varies, from cases that are mild and temporary to severe cases that adversely impact the patient’s quality of life. Symptoms of this condition include absence of salivary pooling, an increase in plaque and caries, difficulty in eating and swallowing food, and an unusually high level of dryness of the tongue or lips. Among the medical causes of Xerostomia are treatments for cancer, such as radiation, carelessness from sufferers of diabetes mellitus, and a medical condition known as Sjogren Syndrome. Smoking is another common cause of dry mouth. As Xerostomia makes it difficult to swallow food, it can lead to a loss of appetite and consequently, weakness and weight loss in a patient.
If you discover any of the symptoms of dry mouth, you must see your dentist immediately. Your dentist will give you a complete oral check-up. If you are suffering from a medical condition, your treatment options will be discussed between your dentist and your physician both. Otherwise, you will most likely be counselled about healthy oral hygiene habits, given medication to stimulate saliva production, or simply instructed to use chewing gum to increase salivary production. You can also chew on sugar-free candies to achieve the same goal.
There are a number of other measures you can take at home in order to alleviate the symptoms of Xerostomia. For instance, you can suck on ice cubes or ice chips and drink water during meals in order to make it easier to swallow your food. Moreover, you should use a mouthwash that does not have alcohol, avoid fizzy drinks and caffeine at all costs, quit smoking and drinking, and use a gentle lip balm in order to moisturise your dried lips. Other than that, make sure you brush your teeth twice a day, clean your tongue once a day, floss at least once a day, and use a gentle mouthwash.