Is your mouth dry? Why it happens, and what to do: everything you should know
Our salivary glands not only maintain the oral cavity and teeth, but also help in the process of chewing, swallowing and digestion. But what happens when the dry mouth appears again and again? When is a doctor’s appointment required? And what should be done? Here are all the details
The secretion of saliva in the mouth occurs twenty-four hours a day, without respite. While eating, smelling food, and different thoughts, the discharge can even increase. As mentioned, saliva has several essential functions, including digesting food, balancing the level of acidity in the mouth, maintaining oral hygiene, cleaning the oral cavity, and more.
Saliva is made up of different mucous membranes, some secreting viscous saliva and some more watery saliva. In addition, there are small salivary glands scattered throughout the rest of the oral cavity, in the cheeks, palate, mucous membrane of the lips and tongue. When the activity of these glands is impaired for one reason or another, we will feel dryness in the mouth.
A situation of decreased saliva secretion is common especially in old age and more so among women. It leads to difficulty in daily routine activities such as eating, swallowing and speaking. Also, lack of saliva damages the sense of taste, may cause fungal infection and also caries disease mainly in the area of the roots of the teeth.
So why is this happening?
Dry mouth can appear due to a variety of reasons ranging from a drug reaction to stress and anxiety. Ciorgan, for example, is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the salivary glands, and as a result there is a decrease in the secretion of saliva.
Unbalanced diabetes, stones in the salivary glands, tumors in the salivary glands, radiotherapy to the head and neck area, and even stress and anxiety disorders – all of these can affect the secretion of saliva.
In addition, the functioning of the salivary glands may be affected due to taking medications given for various conditions such as hypertension, anxiety and depression. Muscle relaxants may also cause dry mouth.
How are you treated?
If you feel a decrease in the amount of saliva in your mouth, you should contact the dentist, he will know how to diagnose the situation and refer you according to the need for further investigation. In addition, here are some tips that you can implement starting today:
– Make sure to drink plenty of water during the day, and try to avoid caffeinated drinks as much as possible, which encourage a feeling of dryness.
– Artificial saliva substitutes can help reduce the feeling of dryness. The substitutes come in gel or spray forms that can be purchased and used as needed.
– Patients wearing dentures are more exposed to infections, including the development of fungus. Therefore, it is recommended to make sure to clean the prostheses frequently.
– Reduce food containing carbohydrates and sugars, which are also known as a risk factor for tooth decay.
Beyond all these, it is important to observe optimal hygiene, which includes brushing your teeth twice a day, dental treatments for teeth cleaning and tartar removal once every six months, as well as routine dental examinations at the dentist once a year.
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