We all have occasions when our mouths go dry. Sometimes being nervous or stressed can trigger an attack of dry mouth. If having a dry mouth becomes a persistent problem, you may have xerostomia.
Xerostomia is the condition of not having enough saliva or spit to keep the mouth wet. This may seem like a minor annoyance, but it can actually affect you ability to chew, eat, swallow, and even talk, and it can increase the risk of tooth decay.
Symptoms of dry mouth
• A dry, sticky feeling in the mouth
• Saliva that seems thick or stringy
• Trouble chewing, swallowing, or speaking
• Changes in the way things taste
• A burning feeling in the mouth
• Cracked lips or split skin at the corners of the mouth
• Mouth sores
• Bad breath
• A dry, rough tongue
• An infection in the mouth
• Increased plaque on the teeth
• A sore throat
Dry mouth is caused by a problem with the glands in the mouth that produce saliva. A variety of things can cause problems with the salivary glands.
• Medications –Over 400 medicines are known to cause dry mouth, including some drugs used to treat depression and anxiety, antihistamines, decongestants, and high blood pressure medications.
• Age – Growing older doesn’t cause dry mouth, but older people are more likely to take medications or have other conditions that cause dry mouth.
• Nerve damage – Surgery or an injury that results in nerve damage to the head or neck may cause dry mouth.
• Cancer treatments – Chemotherapy drugs can affect how the body produces saliva. Radiation treatments to the head or neck can damage the salivary glands and reduce the amount of saliva produced.
• Tobacco – Smoking or chewing tobacco can make dry mouth symptoms worse.
• Snoring – Breathing with your mouth open, including snoring, may make dry mouth worse.
• Other conditions –Sjogren’s syndrome, diabetes, Parkinsons disease, HIV/AIDS, anxiety disorders, and depression are just some of the health conditions that can result in dry mouth.