Dry mouth is called Xerostomia, a condition where in you lack enough saliva for your daily needs. It is not only just difficult to live with a dry mouth. It is quite troublesome too as you cannot enjoy your favorite foods and people turn away from you because of your bad breath. Eventually, it becomes a nuisance. Dry mouth is quite common and is found in at least 20% of the population, especially women. Oral dryness is increasingly observed in aging people. Think of a baby drooling lovely with saliva. But as the baby grows up you notice less of drool and saliva. This lack of saliva is slightly on the increase in some adults as they age.
An adult makes 3 pint of saliva which is secreted for various purposes like preventing tooth decay, washing away food and plaque from your teeth and inhibiting bacterial growth. Saliva also serves to repair the early stages of tooth decay with its minerals. It further neutralizes the damaging acids in your mouth and provides enzymes to help digestion of food. Not to mention its role in your ability to enjoy your food. We swallow a lot of saliva involuntarily and we never thought of the awfully tough jobs it did every day. Aging may cause a restrain on the work of your salivary gland leading to the secretion of less saliva.
Once dry mouth occurs, you realize the true value of saliva. Eating, chewing and swallowing becomes difficult. You develop bad breath, tooth decay and cracked mouth tissues and lips. Additionally, you also lose your normal sense of taste.
Certain drugs and medications often cause oral desiccation as a side effect. Most of the OTC drugs used for medical conditions like Arthritis, depression, hypertension, antihistamines etc. can cause dry mouth in some people. Apart from drugs like Ibuprofen, systemic diseases and autoimmune diseases like Sjogren’s syndrome, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, anxiety disorders and depression also cause oral dryness. Caffeine is also one of the cause for dry mouth.
You can take some additional precautions to prevent dry mouth. If you develop dry mouth due to a drug, as your doctor for an alternative or request for a change in the dosage which may help.