Dry Mouth Guide
It seems like an inconsequential illness, but once you get dry mouth, you find out that it is much more serious than you thought. As the name suggests, this illness happens when a person's mouth becomes unusually dry. Medically, this condition is called xerostomia and your teeth and taste buds will suffer. This is because saliva, the substance decreased in a person who has dry mouth, helps maintain proper teeth health. Without this essential ingredient washing away bacteria, your teeth have no way of fighting decay. Saliva also helps you taste and swallow your food, something that is difficult to do when a person has dry mouth.
The Missing Factor
Saliva is an essential fluid produced by the body to aide in many functions, many that people take for granted. A person cannot chew, talk, or breathe without benefiting from saliva. It is secreted into the mouth by salivary glands. Saliva is almost entirely made up of water, which is appropriate since 98 percent of the human body is made of water. This bodily fluid makes sure the oral cavity stays hydrated. The other small percent of saliva is made up of enzymes, mucus, antibacterial fluid and electrolytes. This combination keeps the mouth, tongue, throat and even digestive system working at its best.
Causes of Dry Mouth
There are a few most common causes of dry mouth. One could be the side effects of taking a medication. Unfortunately, one of the most prevalent side effects in both prescription and non-prescription medications is dry mouth. Muscle relaxants and sedatives can also bring about dry mouth. Medical treatments and certain diseases can also spur this condition, too. Radiation for cancer treatment is a leading cause of dry mouth, for example. People with diabetes, Parkinsons disease, cystic fibrosis and other conditions can experience dry mouth as a part of their symptoms. Unfortunately, dry mouth is sometimes a symptom of a much more serious condition.
Many people who want to know the answer to the question "what is dry mouth" are those who have it chronically. Although these people can be those with chronic illnesses, they also include those who smoke, chew tobacco, and drink alcohol. These habits consistently decrease the mouth's production of saliva and aggravate an already growing problem. It is not uncommon for people who breathe with their mouths open on a consistent basis to also suffer from chronic dry mouth. Breathing with your mouth open allows essential moisture to escape, which is what saliva needs to be produced. People who habitually do these activities do not realize they are suffering from dry mouth because they have been used to dealing with the symptoms for so long.
Symptoms of Dry Mouth
It is important to discuss the symptoms of dry mouth because many people do not realize they have it. They simply think they are not drinking enough fluids or that perhaps something is wrong with their food. As there are many answers to what causes dry mouth, there are many answers to possible symptoms of dry mouth. The most obvious of these is feeling a lot less saliva in your mouth and a parched feeling, no matter how much water or other liquids you drink. It is surprising how much saliva affects your mouth until this condition takes its toll. If you have any saliva at all, it will be thick and stringy. Another way that your body shows that it is lacking moisture is through the skin. Look at the sides of your lips; if they are cracked and splitting, then you probably have dry mouth.
Since saliva washes away the germs in your mouth, an instant sign of less saliva production is chronic or unusual bad breath. Because there is no saliva to clean the bacteria off your teeth, the bacteria multiplies in your mouth, causing a maleficent odor. If the dry mouth is not treated, this could lead to a fungal infection in your mouth. Increased plaque, tooth decay and gum disease are also consequences of not treating dry mouth right away. These degradations in your body are hard to repair once they have gone too far. There is no way to replace gums or to regrow them, and without gums, your teeth have nothing to support them. Likewise, when teeth rot, they can only be replaced by replicas. It is difficult, if not impossible, to restore teeth once they have decayed so far.
Effects of Dry Mouth
Dry mouth does not only affect a person's mouth. A person's throat can also be damaged by this seemingly harmless condition. During the process of digestion, a persons throat depends significantly on saliva to help it break food down. Saliva also aids the throat in pushing the food down the esophagus and into the stomach. Without this aide, the throat cannot properly do its job of helping the stomach digest food. The throat will also become dry and scratchy, as it needs the moisture in saliva to keep it hydrated. A dehydrated throat will be apparent when a person has a sore throat, speaks hoarsely, and experiences dry nasal passages. A person may even have difficulty speaking.
Not only will the throat suffer when less saliva is produced, but the tongue will also bear consequences. Located on this tiny part of the body are taste buds, which help people enjoy their food. What many people do not realize is that taste buds cannot properly function without the help of saliva. This liquid that is missing when dry mouth is present normally will trap food particles through anaerobic bacteria so that a person can taste the food. When a person has dry mouth, therefore, the taste buds eventually shut down. A person cannot taste his or her food while also losing the ability to digest food through the throat. If you have dry mouth, your tongue will look red and feel dry and raw. A person will also experience a tingling sensation on it at times, which is an indication that the tongue needs hydration from saliva.
TheraBreath® Products to Treat Dry Mouth
Chewing gum or drinking glass after glass of water may alleviate dry mouth for a short time but TheraBreath offers a more effective and permanent solution to dry mouth and the severe bad breath caused by dry mouth. By including ingredients conducive to eliminating anaerobic bacteria and increasing saliva flow, TheraBreath's Oral Rinses provide immediate relief from dry mouth and halitosis caused by congestion, post-nasal drip and medications. Regular use of TheraBreath products will leave your mouth feeling cool, fresh and hydrated; completely devoid of the elements necessary to produce chronic bad breath.
All of TheraBreath's oral rinse contains gentle but powerfully effective ingredients such as zinc, xylitol, tea tree leaf oil, sodium chlorite and aloe Barbadensis leaf juice. All have been tested and approved by Dr. Harold Katz, dentist, bacteriologist and inventor of TheraBreath oral hygiene products, as the solutions to chronic bad breath and decreased saliva flow. Moreover, the AktivOxigen serum and travel size products are great ways to give those of who travel frequently instant fresh breath. When you're in between meals or running from meeting to meeting, reach for TheraBreath's Mouth Wetting Lozenges. These sugar-free lozenges work in three distinct stages to keep your mouth moist, increase saliva production and keep your breath fresh with a great mandarin-mint flavor.
Dry Mouth Remedies
Once a person realizes he or she is suffering dry mouth, he or she needs to seek treatment immediately. Because of the swiftness that the lack of saliva can have on the body, it is important to get advice fast about how to get rid of it. If you are taking a medication and dry mouth is one of the side effects, talk to your doctor. Ask him or her what you can do to prevent or allay the dry mouth while you are taking the medication. Often, doctors can prescribe or recommend a different medicine that will deter the dry mouth side effects of the primary medication. A doctor can also adjust the dose of the medication to obliterate the dry mouth symptoms. There are no tests that need to be undertaken when determining if a person has dry mouth. Usually, a doctor can tell through a simple examination.
Another way a doctor could address the condition of dry mouth is prescribing a medication such as Salagen or Evoxac, which are saliva stimulant medications. Since decreased production of saliva is the usual cause of dry mouth, taking these medications would increase production, restoring a person's mouth to its naturally hydrated state. Since lack of saliva also affects the health of your teeth, a doctor or dentist might prescribe a remedy for dry mouth at night.
If you are not taking a medication, but determine you are suffering from dry mouth, there are a few treatments you can try before going to the doctor. If things become so serious that nothing you do makes the dry mouth go away, always seek medical advice. Before taking that measure, though, you can try some easy techniques. For example, an alcohol-free oral mouthwash can stimulate salivary glands to start working again and can refresh the mouth, driving away bacteria and bad breath. The goal of any dry mouth treatment is to restore saliva flow. One of the ways a person can do that is by drinking plenty of fluids. Since the body is made up of mostly water, this is the main fluid a person with dry mouth should be drinking to restore the production of saliva. It is essentially like putting water back into a well; without enough water, saliva cannot do its job properly and will not flow.
There are other ways a person can increase saliva flow, too. One of the easiest ways is by chewing on sugar-free gum or sucking on sugar-free candy. These activities use the muscles of the mouth and may stimulate the salivary glands to perk up. Using sugar-free versions ensure that you are not inviting any necessary bacteria into your mouth. Other ways to treat dry mouth are by brushing, flossing and visiting your dentist regularly. It is also important for a person to breathe with his or her mouth closed, so as not to let out any moisture. To increase moisture in the mouth and nasal cavities, use a humidifier in the room you sleep in. You can also purchase over-the-counter artificial saliva substitutes that will help replenish the moisture in your oral cavity.
There are often misconceptions when it comes to treating dry mouth. Certain activities should be avoided when trying to recover from dry mouth. For example, if a person is a smoker, chews tobacco, or drinks alcohol, he or she should refrain from doing so. Although it is beneficial to use oral rinses while treating dry mouth, it is harmful to use those with alcohol as an ingredient since that fluid will dry out the mouth even more. It is also important to abstain from caffeine when recovering from this condition. Caffeine is another substance that could promote the dryness of the mouth, which does not add to the healing process. Although it is tempting to buy over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants to treat your dry mouth, be mindful of them. They sometimes can do more harm than good by making your throat even drier than it is.
It is important to understand what dry mouth is and how to recognize it. Dry mouth is caused by a decrease or stoppage in saliva production. The reasons this may happen vary. Sometimes it is due to medications being taken, sometimes it is due to an already existing illness, and sometimes it is a result of therapy or disease treatments. Other common causes of dry mouth are smoking, chewing tobacco, and drinking alcohol. The symptoms are often overlooked or unrecognized, causing people discomfort and serious pain if left untreated. These symptoms include loss of taste, sore throat, bad breath, cavities and decaying gums. Saliva affects so much in the functioning of the mouth and throat, as well as digestion as a whole; when there is not enough saliva, everything in the oral cavity suffers. Treatment of dry mouth is important. It can be treated by using specialty oral rinses, over-the-counter saliva stimulants, and fluoride toothpaste. Drinking water is also an essential part of restoring moisture. If dry mouth becomes serious, a person should seek a doctors advice immediately.