Am I At Risk For Dry Mouth?
Certain lifestyle factors can increase your risk for dry mouth.
Smoking and chewing tobacco can affect the amount of saliva you produce and exacerbate dry mouth. Regularly breathing with your mouth open can also contribute to dry mouth symptoms. Individuals with seasonal allergies or other conditions that limit their ability to breathe through their nose may suffer with frequent dry mouth as well.
So Is There Any Way To Avoid Dry Mouth?
“Medications are one of the most common causes of dry mouth. Long-term relief from your dry mouth may mean stopping or changing your medication or its dosage, or addressing underlying health issues.” Thomas J. Salinas, DDS.
So What Is Causing My Dry Mouth?
Dry mouth most often appearsas a side effect of other issues.
- Medications: Dry mouth is a common side effect of hundreds of prescription and over-the-counter medications, including antidepressants, antihistamines, and pain relievers. Some cancer therapies can also affect saliva.
- Medical Conditions: Decreased salivation is also associated with health conditions. Nerve damage in the head or neck can affect salivary glands. Dry mouth can also result from diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and certain autoimmune disorders.
- Snoring: Nighttime snoring or mouth breathing can also cause dry mouth symptoms. Often, patients with sleep apnea will experience issues with morning dry mouth as well.
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Constant dry mouth is uncomfortable. It can cause bad breath, affect your sense of taste, and make chewing and swallowing more difficult. Because saliva plays an important role in digestion and helps to keep teeth clean, dry mouth can have a major impact on your overall health.
Occasional Dry Mouth Is Normal, But Persistent Symptoms May Be Serious
- Discomfort: Persistent dry mouth can cause a variety of uncomfortable symptoms, including cracked lips, a sore throat, and a feeling of stickiness. Decreased saliva can also lead to frequent thirst and mouth sores.
- Difficulty Speaking, Chewing, or Swallowing: Without sufficient saliva, normal daily activities can be more difficult. You may struggle to speak due to a hoarse voice or need to drink water frequently in order to swallow. Many individuals with dry mouth also have a decreased sense of taste.
Lifestyle Changes Can Limit The Effects Of Dry Mouth
- Avoid Products That Can Worsen Dry Mouth: Caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol can all contribute to dry mouth. Limiting your caffeine intake, stopping tobacco use, and avoiding mouthwash with alcohol can all help prevent dry mouth.
- Breathe through Your Nose: Learning to breathe through your nose instead of your mouth can also help minimize your issues with dry mouth. Your dentist in Fort Lauderdale may have tips for changing your habits.
- Chew Sugar-Free Gum: Chewing gum or sucking on sugar-free candies can help stimulate the flow of saliva. You can also try sipping water throughout the day to keep your mouth moist.