Dry Mouth and Dentures | How to Treat and Prevent It

Our mouths and teeth are often under-appreciated because of how simple they may seem. This may cause people to stop taking good care of them which may lead to several unpleasant conditions. Like the very common idiom; one does not know the worth of something until it is lost. A well-functioning mouth is a goal everybody should strive to attain to avoid extreme discomfort and legitimate health issues. One of the most common issues of the human mouth is the condition known as Xerostomia— most commonly known and referred to as dry mouth.

dry mouth

Dry Mouth Details

Throughout the course of this article, you will learn the various causes of the condition and how best to prevent it from occurring again.

Saliva is unarguably one of our most important bodily fluids given its extremely important function in the overall health of the body. It facilitates the digestion of carbohydrates by providing an enzyme called amylase or ptyalin, it ensures the easy swallowing of solid foods, helps us cleanse our mouths and helps us prevent serious infections by controlling the amount of fungi and bacteria in our mouths. From all the roles the saliva has in our bodies, it stands to reason that when not enough of it is produced, it has an adverse effect on the body which is known as dry mouth. Some of the symptoms of the condition are listed below. If you find yourself suffering from more than 4 of these symptoms, then you may be suffering from this condition.

  • A feeling of stickiness in the mouth coupled with a dry feeling
  • Similar dry feeling in the throat
  • A dry, and red looking tongue which may feel over-sensitive
  • Bad breath
  • Frequent thirst
  • Cracked lips and/or split skin at the corners of the mouth
  • Hoarseness of the voice
  • Sore throat
  • Dry nasal passages

While none of the symptoms listed above seem funny, its history can be considered such. Xerostomia has been linked to liars throughout history— most commonly from the 16th Century to the 18th Century. This is because the act of lying usually causes the liar to have a dry mouth and, as such, dry mouth was an indicator of a lie— hence its comical use as a lie detector. It should be noted however that the presence of a dry mouth does not necessarily mean a person is lying as it can be caused by a wide variety of things ranging from adverse reactions to certain medications, ill-fitting dentures, to smoking tobacco. Since dentures are made to replace your teeth and surrounding tissue, it is very difficult to get a perfect fit. Ironically, wearing dentures for the first time usually results in the production of too much saliva but as time wears on, a condition known as burning mouth syndrome may occur. This usually follows dry mouth caused by dentures. It is therefore very important to get good quality dentures. Some of the well-documented causes of dry mouth are listed below:

  • Side effects or adverse reactions to certain medication such as antihistamines and decongestants
  • Side of effects of various diseases or medical conditions such as hypertension, HIV/AIDS, and Diabetes
  • Nerve damage to the neck or head area arising from physical injury
  • Intake of certain substances including tobacco
  • Surgical removal of the salivary glands
  • Mouth breathing
  • Ill-fitting dentures
  • Poor oral hygiene

Thankfully, the conditions are usually treatable— although it might prove to be difficult. It usually involves pin-pointing the cause of the problem and getting rid of it. This may prove potentially problematic in the case of dry mouth being triggered by medication being taken by the sufferer, as the medication may be vital to the individual. On the other hand, if the condition is brought on by poor oral hygiene, a simple positive change in oral hygiene habits could prove extremely useful in treating the condition. Dry mouth caused by wearing dentures can only be treated not cured. With adequate medication and time, the Xerostomia will subside, but may not be cured completely. It is important to always clean your dentures to avoid other infections that may cause Xerostomia. In the case of the condition being caused by hyposalivation secondary to underlying chronic disease, it may be considered a permanent condition and for the truly unlucky, it might even progress gradually with time. Regardless, Xerostomia can be managed with the use of saliva substitutes and/or saliva stimulants. These saliva substitutes may be based on a number of liquids such as water, milk, vegetable oil (unpleasant to some), etc. Saliva stimulants may be in the form of a simple chewing gum, sugar-free mints, organic acids, drugs based on pilocarpine hydrochloride, etc. In the case where the condition is brought on by surgical removal of the salivary glands, only saliva substitutes may be used as saliva stimulants will have no effect whatsoever in alleviating the condition.

There are various commercial products in the market that will help those suffering from the ailment. It is always advisable to confer with your doctor before taking any of these treatments as it may cause a reaction with your current medications. For those who do not want to leave the comfort of their houses or prefer not to visit a hospital, there are online websites which provide treatments for the condition. The products being listed here are all available on Amazon.com and are very affordable with some even being as cheap as $0.05 per gram. Please note that we are not affiliated with any of the products being listed below. I simply listed them for people who need quick and easy access to the medications. For quality dentures, it is advisable to go straight to your dentist. Dentures sold online may not fit well and this may cause a variety of health problems.

We’ve gone over what Xerostomia is, how to treat it, and I’ve gone as far as listing out some of the best-selling treatment available online. Now for the majority of dry mouth sufferers out there, a simple change of oral hygiene habits and/or dentures will render these treatments unnecessary since most cases are brought on as a result of poor oral hygiene. Those with more severe cases or cases brought on as a result of reaction with a needed medication should visit their doctor at once. Most times, alternative medication may be prescribed. To summarise everything up, dry mouth is not a life-endangering condition. It is merely a discomfort and can be easily treated in days. Always take care of your mouth and it will take care of you.

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