Dry mouth is a condition in which inadequate saliva is produced, resulting in what is commonly called cotton mouth and scientifically termed as xerostomia.
It is worth to mention that the causes of dry mouth can be a result of aging or a specific medication. For instance there is an established link between the pain killer lorcet and mouth dryness.
Hopefully, a dry mouth cure will mean simply changing medication, but all too often the condition cannot be traced to one cause and must be controlled rather than cured.
Beyond the obvious, dry mouth symptoms include thick, stringy saliva and potential sores or split creases at the corners of the mouth.
Bad breath will be present and the patient might have difficulty swallowing or speaking and trouble chewing. The tongue will have a burning sensation and food will taste different. The patient might also develop more plaque on the teeth and cavities.
The relationship between age and mouth dryness is that as we get older, we produce less saliva. This condition is complicated by a degeneration of the thirst receptors in the brain. In such circumstances, your brain does not tell you the thirsty you have or suffering.
And as a consequence of your age, the person is producing less saliva anyway, and together the two factors result in dry mouth.
Other medical conditions can be causes of dry mouth as well including Alzheimer’s disease, endocrine disorders such as diabetes, stroke, anxiety, depression, and various autoimmune diseases.
If dry mouth comes on slowly, it is most likely a result of aging. If it occurs suddenly, mention the condition to the doctor.
Stress induced mouth dryness is common in younger people and will usually resolve itself with rest and increased intake of fluids. The use of tobacco products, cigarettes, cigars, and pipes or chewing tobacco and snuff, aggravate dry mouth and given their link to cancer, should be avoided any way.
Most cases of dry mouth syndrome in older people are actually caused by the medications they take. Drugs for depression and anxiety cause dry mouth as do antihistamines, blood pressure prescriptions, muscle relaxants, and medications for urinary incontinence.
If one suddenly begins to experience dry mouth after receiving a new prescription of medicine, one should ask health experts about the medication and see if an alternate medication is available without the side effect of dry mouth.
Cancer patients on chemotherapy will have a particularly difficult time with dry mouth. The chemotherapy drugs effect the composition of saliva and the degree of its production. Radiation treatments for cancer may actually damage the salivary glands and prevent them from functioning normally.
Every day the average human produces three pints of saliva, a substance that lubricates the mouth and aids in speech.
It protects the teeth against decay by helping to wash away food debris, by limiting the growth of bacteria, and by neutralizing acid. Saliva makes swallowing easier and the enzymes contained in saliva aid with digestion.
When saliva is no longer present, you suddenly realize what an active role it plays in your mouth as eating and speaking are suddenly more difficult.