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Dry Mouth or XEROSTOMIA – Causes, Symptoms, Prevention and Treatment

Dry mouth means that there is not enough saliva in the mouth. It occurs when the mouth is less wet. Saliva glands are not able to generate enough saliva. Dry mouth problem increases with age. Dry mouth can also occur in conditions when a person is nervous, upset and when the person is under stress. One can think why saliva is so important. Saliva is important as it helps in digestion of food, prevents decaying of teeth and mouth infections, chewing and swallowing of food becomes easy, controls the bacteria and fungi infections.

WHAT CAUSES DRY MOUTH?
– Salivary glands are not working properly.
– There is not enough saliva produced in mouth.
– Some side effects of certain medications.
– Chemotherapy
– Radiation therapy
– Damage to the nerves that produce saliva in salivary glands.
– Lack of water.

WHAT ARE SYMPTOMS OF DRY MOUTH?
– Problems in chewing and swallowing.
– Dry and burning feeling in the mouth.
– Bad breath.
– Lips become very dry.
– Smelling and soaring mouth.
– Mouth infections.
– Cheeks become dull, pale.
– Problems in speech.
– Dental decay.
– Mouth and tongue becomes sensitive to acidic, salty & spicy foods.
– Tongue becomes red, raw and dry.
– Hoarseness.

HOW CAN DRY MOUTH BE PREVENTED?
– Drink lots of water.
– One should breathe through nose and not through mouth.
– Alcohol makes mouth dry so one should avoid alcohol.
– Caffeinated drinks should be avoided.
– Too much spicy and salted foods should be avoided.
– Keep your teeth healthy so visit dentist at least twice a year.
– Avoid sticky foods.
– Brush teeth properly.

HOW CAN DRY MOUTH BE TREATED?
– Medications can be given to improve the working of salivary glands so that it can produce proper amount of saliva.
– Artificial saliva can be given to keep the mouth wet.
– If dry mouth is caused by certain medications then doctor can change those medications.
– Stimulate the flow of saliva.

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