Having a dry and pasty mouth is very unpleasant. Fortunately, this problem can be prevented or diminished.
What are the consequences of dry mouth?
Frequent dry mouth can cause a lot of discomfort and a number of other inconveniences, such as a pasty mouth or thick tongue, difficulty speaking, the need to cough, cracks at the corners of the mouth, the need to drink frequently, altered taste, and bad breath.
When less saliva is produced, it is more difficult to soften foods, chew, and swallow. Since foods are not soft enough, they can cause abrasions in the mouth and throat, which increases the risk of canker sores. A lack of saliva also results in a greater amount of bacteria in the mouth and, therefore, in a higher risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
A dry mouth problem can have psychological and emotional repercussions such as a feeling of embarrassment, anxiety or stress, feeling different or a lack of self-confidence.
Can a dry mouth problem be prevented?
Dry mouth is a state of discomfort that can harm oral health and digestion. It is usually caused by the presence of certain factors that should be identified. Identifying the causes will enable you to find solutions and make some lifestyle changes that will help solve the problem.
Certain measures can reduce the risk of dry mouth. Here are some of them.
- Drink plenty of water to keep your mouth moist.
- Reduce your caffeine consumption, as it can decrease saliva production.
- Take a sugarless candy or gum.
- Quit all tobacco consumption.
- Avoid spicy or salty foods and acidic drinks (e.g. citrus juice or soft drinks).
- Increase the humidity in your bedroom using a humidifier.
- Visit your dentist regularly for routine health care.
- If you have diabetes, be sure to adequately control your blood glucose.
- Maintain excellent oral hygiene using tooth paste and mouthwash specially formulated for people with dry mouth. Always choose an alcohol-free mouthwash.
- Reduce your alcohol consumption.
- Speak to your pharmacist if you think that a medication you take causes dry mouth. He/she can suggest solutions or alternatives.
What products or treatments can help?
It isn't uncommon for the above-mentioned measures to be insufficient to eliminate the problem of dry mouth. It can be beneficial to turn to what are called saliva substitutes. Such products, offered over-the-counter, come in gel or liquid formats (mouthwash or moisturizing mouth spray). They moisten the mouth and ease the symptoms related to dryness. They are appreciated for their effective and fast relief, and their easy use.
In some cases, it is possible to use a medication that increases saliva production. This method is generally considered as a last-resort solution.
Speak to your doctor or dental care professional for additional information about dry mouth and the ways to treat it.