Dry mouth is one of the most prevalent oral health concerns, affecting 1 in 4 adults and around 40% of people over 55. Dry mouth can affect whether or not you’re good at staying hydrated. Even if you drink plenty of fluids, your mouth may not produce the amount of saliva necessary to stay moist.
Saliva is more important than you might think. Not only does it assist with the first phase of digestion, which is breaking down the food you eat as you chew, but it also helps with swallowing and contains minerals that promote healthy teeth.
If your mouth constantly feels too dry, sticky, or rough, dry mouth may be at the root.
During your next routine dental cleaning and exam at Union Square Dental, tell our expert team about your symptoms so we can provide helpful tips and dry mouth treatments.
Sometimes, all it takes to manage dry mouth is making some small changes to your oral hygiene routine.
Recognizing the signs of dry mouth
There are big differences between having dry mouth and being thirsty. While dehydration can certainly play a role in causing dry mouth, thirst and dry mouth are not the same.
Common symptoms of dry mouth, including a few you might not expect, include:
- A sticky-feeling mouth
- Cracked lips
- Persistent bad breath
- Trouble chewing and swallowing
- Speaking difficulties
- Trouble tasting flavors
- Mouth infections
These symptoms range from slightly uncomfortable to highly embarrassing and can increasingly affect your life as the condition worsens.
Common causes of dry mouth
If you have dry mouth, your dentist at Union Square Dental works with you to explore the possible reasons you experience the symptoms you have. One cause or multiple factors may contribute to your dry mouth.
Medication is a factor, as dry mouth is a common side effect. If you’re taking a medication that causes severe dry mouth, you might be able to relieve your symptoms by adjusting or stopping the medication. Always consult with the prescribing physician before making changes to your medications.
Medical conditions and general everyday circumstances can also lead to dry mouth. Some of the most common culprits are:
- Mouth breathing
- Oral thrush
- Autoimmune disorders
- Nerve damage
Some factors are more controllable than others, and the same treatments don’t work for everyone. We can work with you as you try different approaches to manage your symptoms.
Treating your condition
Sometimes, all it takes to treat dry mouth is to eliminate a medication (or a factor like smoking) to increase your saliva production naturally. There’s also artificial saliva available by prescription that might fit your treatment plan.
In many cases, managing dry mouth requires making multiple changes to your routine and following various tips from your dentist. A few helpful tips to try include:
- Sipping water throughout the day
- Avoiding alcohol
- Avoiding smoking and tobacco
- Using a nighttime humidifier
- Chewing sugar-free gum
- Get regular dental checkups
It may take a few tries, but you can find a way to alleviate the symptoms of dry mouth.
For more information on available treatments and potential new developments in dentistry for dry mouth treatment, call us at Union Square Dental today. We’re located in the Flatiron District of Manhattan, New York City.