Dry mouth, or xerostomia, is not a disease itself, but can be a symptom of a disease. It’s also a side effect of some medical therapies and drugs. Some people can even feel like they have dry mouth even though their salivary glands are working normally.
Dry mouth can be a quite serious condition, because it can lead to tooth decay and infections of the mouth. It can also interfere with nutrition and have adverse effects on a patient’s self esteem. A dentist should be seen as soon as possible if a person has dry mouth.
Causes: Changes in Salivary Gland Function
Changes in the way the salivary glands work can lead to dry mouth. Certain drugs affect the salivary glands like high blood pressure medications and antidepressants. Other drugs that can change salivary gland function are painkillers, diuretics, and tranquilizers. Even antihistamines that are bought over-the-counter can contribute to dry mouth.
Dry mouth can also be caused by stress, bone marrow transplants, depression and deficiencies in nutrition.
Radiation therapy for cancer can damage the salivary glands if the salivary glands are in the treatment area. Chemotherapy can also alter the saliva itself, and make the patient feel like they’re experiencing dry mouth.
Another cause of dry mouth can be Sjøgren’s syndrome. This is an autoimmune disease, where the body’s own immune system attacks it. Not only does a patient suffer from a dry mouth with Sjøgren’s syndrome, but dry eyes as well.
Dry mouth can also be caused by conditions that have nothing to do with the salivary glands. Damage to the nerves around the head and neck can change the sensation to the mouth, or can interrupt the nerve signals that tell the salivary glands to secrete saliva. A person suffering a stroke or suffering from dementia might believe they have dry mouth. Dry mouth, however, is not a consequence of normal aging.
Visit Your Dentist
If you are experiencing chronic dry mouth, it is very important to visit your dentist. Dry mouth is very dangerous to your dental health. If you live in the Bolivar, Missouri area, please consider scheduling an appointment with Dr. Paul Gonzales.
Bolivar Family Dental is also proud to serve the residents of Springfield, Buffalo, Halfway, Pleasant Hope, Stockton, Fair Play, Morrisville, Eldorado Springs and Wheatland.
Dr. Paul will design a customized treatment plans that best fit your needs and expectations. Feel free to call us with any questions and concerns that you may have or to schedule a check-up . (417) 777-8654
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