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|Dry mouth, or xerostomia, can be caused by a number of factors, including certain medications.|
Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, affects thousands of people but many aren’t aware that it is an actual medical condition with a number of potential causes and treatments. Does your mouth often feel parched? Is it difficult for you to eat dry foods? Are you constantly sipping liquids to regain the moisture in your mouth? If so, you could be suffering from dry mouth. Read on to learn about potential causes of dry mouth and dry mouth treatments.
There are a number of factors that can contribute to the thickened or reduced saliva flow that causes dry mouth, including:
• Salivary gland infections
• Blockage of salivary ducts by tumors or stones
• Radiation therapy
Additional factors that may contribute to dry mouth include smoking cigarettes, mouth breathing, and poor or dry air quality.
Fortunately, there are a number of treatments your dentist can suggest to help you keep your mouth properly moistened. The first step in treating dry mouth is to find out what the cause is. If the patient has a blockage in the salivary ducts, there are a number of effective therapies depending on the location and size of the obstruction. Some patients may be able to work with their doctors to find alternative medications that are less likely to cause dry mouth. There are also over-the-counter saliva substitutes and mouth rinses that can help restore optimal saliva flow. Finally, many patients find that chewing gum or sucking on hard candies (especially sour candies) can help stimulate the flow of saliva and relive dry mouth.
Dry mouth can be uncomfortable, and it can also cause cracks or sores on the lips, difficulty speaking, and bad breath. Dry mouth can also affect a person’s sense of taste and it can become the source of oral fungal infections and dental decay. If you suffer from chronic dry mouth, it’s a good idea for you to discuss the issue with your dentist so that he or she can address any problems that may be contributing to the condition before they affect your oral health.
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