Dry Mouth Causes
|By Dr. Harold Katz - Bad Breath Expert|
Investigating dry mouth causes reveals that the majority of medical conditions reducing saliva flow in the mouth emerge when a person is suffering from some sort of respiratory ailment. Chronic sinusitis, allergies and frequent head colds that restrict the ability to breathe freely through the nose are common culprits of dry mouth. Although salivary glands may be functioning properly and producing an adequate amount of saliva, the drying affects of air moving rapidly over teeth, gums and into the throat will create symptoms of dry mouth.
People suffering from xerostomia, or dry mouth, will experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Unrelenting thirst
- Sticky, stringy saliva
- Chapped lips and/or cracked mouth corners
- Hoarseness when speaking
- Swallowing difficulties
- Sore throat
- Burning sensation on the tongue
- Severe halitosis
Unless saliva levels in the mouth are brought back to normal, the consequences of xerostomia are potentially long-term and serious, usually involving teeth and gum disease.
Common Dry Mouth Causes
Sinusitis Inflammation of the sinuses is called sinusitis, an infection originating from bacterial, fungal or viral infections. Classic signs of sinusitis include fever, loss of taste and/or smell, fatigue, coughing, toothache, painful pressure behind the eyes and bad breath. Sinusitis frequently follows a cold that lasts longer than usual and produces uncomfortable nasal congestion that promotes postnasal drip and a sore throat that feels lumpy.
Sinus passages are located in the cheeks, nasal bones, behind the forehead and around the eyes. When healthy, the sinuses fill freely with air every time a person inhales and exhales. However, when inflamed with a bacterial or viral infection, the mucous membranes lining the passages swell, preventing mucus from draining and creating an environment conducive to bacterial growth.
In addition to breathing through the mouth, sinusitis sufferers may exacerbate dry mouth by taking decongestants in an attempt to alleviate swelled sinus passages. Ingredients in medications intended to relieve congestion inhibit salivary gland output as a side effect of decreasing mucous secretions. Although decongestants reduce swelled sinus passages, they can also produce severe dry mouth in users.
Conditions potentially worsening or extending bouts of sinusitis include:
- Allergic rhinitis
- Excessively large adenoids
- Cystic fibrosis
- Kartagener syndrome (a rare genetic disorder in which cilia in the respiratory tract fail to clear mucus from the lungs, resulting in chronic pneumonia, bronchitis and sinusitis)
- Immune system functioning compromised by chemotherapy or HIV infection
Physicians may diagnose sinusitis by viewing sinus passages with a nasal endoscope. If a fungal infection or tumor is suspected of causing sinusitis, doctors may initiate magnetic resonance imaging procedures for a closer look at the nasal passages.
Sleep Apnea and Snoring
Additional dry mouth causes include a sleep disorder called sleep apnea and the intense, nighttime snoring associated with the condition. During an episode of obstructive sleep apnea, sufferers actually cease breathing for a moment while asleep because throat muscles relax too much and block the airway. Realizing it needs oxygen, the brain forces the person to inhale suddenly, a movement that creates an extremely loud snoring sound which often wakens the individual from a deep sleep.
Because salivary glands greatly reduce the amount of saliva they secrete during sleep, these repeated snoring episodes causes such extreme dry mouth that sufferers often complain about having xerostomia all day even after drinking water, chewing gum or sucking on mints.
Dry Mouth Causes Related to Aging
Similar to the way all organ functioning decreases during the aging process, salivary gland functioning also deteriorates. Additionally, older people frequently experience xerostomia due to medications they take for high blood pressure, depression or edema. Chemotherapy, diabetes and Parkinson's disease may also contribute to the emergence of dry mouth symptoms.
When dry mouth accompanies receding gums (common to senior citizens), individuals become particularly susceptible to dental decay and gum disease. Without sufficient amounts of saliva to naturally remove mouth debris, bacteria that thrive on this protein-rich debris proliferate in the mouth, causing gingivitis, cavities and chronic bad breath.
Other Dry Mouth Causes
A mouth already experiencing some dryness can be further desiccated by:
- Smoking or chewing tobacco products
- Drinking too much coffee and sugary beverages
- Systemic lupus (an autoimmune disorder affecting salivary glands)
- Jaw problems that inhibit the ability to chew (less chewing causes salivary glands to shrink)
- Unregulated blood glucose levels (diabetes)
Sjögren's Syndrome is a somewhat uncommon, autoimmune disorder that produces chronic xerostomia because the body erroneously attacks the salivary glands, damaging their ability to release saliva. Often associated with lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and scleroderma, Sjögren's Syndrome is diagnosed when certain criteria are satisfied following testing of salivary gland functioning, detection of auto-antibodies in blood serum and results of a salivary gland biopsy.
Video of Dr. Katz discussing Morning Breath and Dry Mouth Causes
Oral Health and Dry Mouth
The effects of dry mouth causes on oral health can be devastating if not treated with products containing effective, oxygenating ingredients. Hyposalivation, or reduced salivation, directly contributes to numerous oral problems, such as:
- Canker sores/mouth lesions
- Gingivitis and plaque
- Tooth decay
- Periodontal disease
- Receding gums
- Extreme halitosis
Saliva not only lubricates food and facilitates digestion of swallowed food; it also contains beneficial phosphates, minerals and calcium that protect tooth enamel from being eroded by bacteria. Without the oxygenation process provided by a continuous flow of saliva, the mouth becomes a horrendous breeding ground for anaerobic bacteria that literally disintegrates the gums and teeth unless preventive action is taken.
Eliminating Halitosis Produced by Dry Mouth Causes
While brushing, flossing and rinsing at least two or three times a day may help alleviate dry mouth, over the counter products claiming to remedy xerostomia are generally ineffective due to the limited ability of the ingredients constituting them. Oxygenating mouthwashes, toothpastes and rinses that are free from the abrasive detergents and sugars often found in brand-name oral hygiene products are essential to killing harmful oral bacteria.
TheraBreath oral hygiene products represent the most effective line of toothpastes and mouthwashes that are specially formulated to return normal saliva levels to the mouth as well as get rid of embarrassing bad breath. Dr. Katz's TheraBreath products are famous for their natural yet powerful ingredients that possess the ability to stop dry mouth and halitosis. For example, TheraBreath's ZOX mints contain an exclusive combination of oxygen, zinc and xylitol that neutralizes bacteria-causing bad breath instead of just masking halitosis temporarily.
No longer do people suffering from dry mouth causes and the symptoms they produce have to continue experiencing discomfort and embarrassment from bad breath or tooth decay. With regular use of TheraBreath products, your mouth will always be fresh, hydrated and free of foul-smelling bacteria.