A Natural Lubricant for Dry Mouth Symptoms
At some point, most people will experience, or will have experienced, a dry mouth. For the majority, dry mouth symptoms disappear without causing any major problems however for some, a dry mouth becomes a chronic condition medically termed xerostomia.
Xerostomia is derived from the Greek words that literally mean “dry mouth”. Diagnosis of a dry mouth can only be confirmed once a patient complains of this problem – there is no test for this concern.
The symptoms of a dry mouth can be wide-ranging and not everyone will suffer from all of the symptoms which include:
- Being thirsty frequently
- Sticky dry feeling in the mouth or throat
- Low saliva production or stringy saliva
- Cracked lips and sores in the mouth
- A pebbled appearance on the tongue which may be sore and feel tingly
- Difficulty speaking due to being hoarse
- Hard to chew or swallow food
- Bad breath
All of the above symptoms are associated with a dry mouth.
What causes dry mouth?
There are many possible causes of a dry mouth, which may be due to physical causes, environmental factors, internal causes or a combination of causes. Whatever the cause, your mouth and teeth should ideally be bathed in saliva which is a primary line of defence against tooth decay, gum disease and infection.
Some of the causes of a dry mouth, xerosotomia, include the following scenarios:
There are many medications that are responsible for causing a dry mouth. These include antihistamines, antidepressants, cholesterol-lowering drugs, analgesics and some blood pressure reducing drugs. No one knows exactly how many but estimates range from 400 to 3000 possible drugs being possibly responsible for a dry mouth.
Some autoimmune diseases such as Sjogren’s and lupus result in a dry mouth. Also some systemic diseases such as diabetes result in a dry mouth.
Anxiety, depression and stress may all result in a dry mouth. To make matters worse, many antidepressants may also cause a dry mouth.
Dehydration due to failing to drink enough water; working in a very dry environment and breathing through the mouth as opposed to the nose can all be factors resulting in a dry mouth.
Many people do not realize that they need help until it’s too late. Many people wake up in the middle of the night with a very dry mouth. Some have difficulty swallowing food because they simply do not produce sufficient saliva. Saliva is a good buffering agent working to protect against acidity in the mouth. Reduced saliva results in bacteria that thrive and eventually cavities. Even more alarming is the fact that there is a strong link between poor oral hygiene, leading to gum disease, and cardiovascular disease.
How to address a dry mouth
The first thing that you should do is to see your GP to ensure that there is not an underlying medical condition. In general, a treatment plan for dry mouth should include:
- Increasing your water intake both in volume terms and in the frequency of intake unless there is a medical reason not to.
- Pay particular attention to oral hygiene. Keep your teeth and gums healthy.
- Keep your mouth and lips moist – consider rinsing with water, saliva encouraging products and so forth. Use a mouthwash without alcohol and preferably with xylitol since alcohol dries out the mouth and xylitol keeps the oral tissues moist as well as protecting against dental decay.
- Avoid coffee, tea, alcohol and carbonated sugary drinks that can dehydrate the body.
- Consider the use of a supplement such as Hyalogic’s Hylamints containing hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is compound that holds over a 1000 times its weight in water. Hylamints contain hyaluronic acid blended with Xylitol, Pectin and Slippery Elm which upon contact with even a small amount of saliva keeps the mouth moist. Hylamints are vegan and are free from sugar.
DISCLAIMER: The views, opinions and information expressed in this article and on Victoriahealth.com Ltd are those of the author(s) in an editorial context. Victoriahealth.com Ltd cannot be held responsible for any errors or for any consequences arising from the use of the information contained in this editorial or anywhere else on the site. Every effort is made by the editorial and content team to see that no inaccurate or misleading information, opinion or statement appear, nor replace or constitute endorsement from medical bodies or trials unless specified. Victoriahealth.com Ltd accept no liability for the consequences of any inaccurate or misleading data, information, opinion or statement. Information on Victoriahealth.com Ltd and in the editorials is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this website or in the editorials for diagnosing or treating a health concern or disease, or for the replacement of prescription medication or other treatment.