Dry mouth or xerostomia is caused by a change in the composition of the saliva or there is reduced flow of saliva. Saliva prevents decay of the teeth by neutralizing acids produced by bacteria, minimizes the growth of bacteria and eliminates food particles. Enzymes found in saliva helps with the digestion process. It also improves the quality of taste and makes it easy to swallow.
A salivary gland that is not functioning properly can be caused by the process, anxiety, stress, depression, smoking and drinking alcohol. Pregnant women can be affected by dry mouth caused by dehydration and hormonal changes.
Symptoms of dry mouth
- Burning sensation in the mouth
- A rough tongue
- Loss of taste
- Excessive thirst
- Thick or stringy saliva
- Cracked lips
- Difficulty in speaking, eating and swallowing
- Bad breath
- Problems wearing dentures
- Development of tooth decay
- Irritation on the gums and diseases of the gum
- Dry mouth can be caused by some medications such as those available over-the- that causes dry mouth as side effects such as medications used in treating depression, nerve pain and anxiety as well as decongestants, antihistamines and muscle relaxants.
- The aging process can cause dry mouth especially among the elderly.
- Chemotherapy medication can temporarily cause dry mouth.
- Injury or surgery causes damage to the nerve on the neck and head area.
- Other conditions such as Sjogren’s syndrome or HIV/AIDS, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Use of tobacco products
- Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration which is the common cause of dry mouth. Being hydrated makes it easy for the body to produce more saliva and minimizes the symptoms. If there is difficulty drinking water, suck on small ice cubes.
- Eat semi-solid frozen chunks of fruits and vegetable such as watermelon, pineapple and cucumber. Eat soft foods such as stews and soups. Consume 1-2 glasses of coconut water every day and avoid sodas, caffeinated and alcoholic drinks.
- Aloe Vera protects the sensitive tissue in the mouth and improves the taste buds. Drink ¼ cup of aloe vera juice every day to heal a dry mouth. Another alternative is rinsing the mouth using aloe vera juice several times every day. Apply pure aloe vera gel around the mouth using a cotton swab; leave it on for a couple of minutes and then rinse the mouth using cold water. Perform this process at least two to three times every day.