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.