Dryness of the mouth (Xerostomia) in a technical sense occurs when the salivary glands in the mouth fail to function properly. It can be highly uncomfortable and you will feel the incessant need to moisturize your mouth with more saliva. This feeling can be highly uncomfortable when it comes to routine activities like talking, swallowing etc.
Some of the common symptoms of mouth dryness are:
- Difficulty in chewing properly or talking
- Hoarseness of throat
- Generation of saliva that is of a different consistency in terms of thickness
- Bad breath (yikes!) (for more information on the top reasons for bad breath, read this article)
- You can’t taste food properly because your taste buds are not functioning properly
- Your tongue feels all weird and your mouth is sticky
If you identify with these symptoms and think that you can have this condition, here are several things and reactions that can result in the dryness of mouth.
Medicinal: Most allopathic medicine have dryness of mouth as a common side effect, especially those that are used to treat certain mental problems like depression, anxiety and even some medicines used to control blood pressure levels and blood sugar levels.
Dehydration: Along with other serious complications of dehydration, dryness of mouth is one of them. There is a loss of fluid in the mouth when a person is dehydrated, which causes the salivary glands to produce lesser saliva.
Dehydration is often caused due to vomiting, high fevers or simply the forgetfulness to drink water. Fluids must immediately be replaced in one’s body to avoid dryness of mouth and other serious complications.
Certain foods and beverages: There are a number of foods that can often lead to the dryness of mouth. They include tough meat, crusty breads, acidic foods that contain high amounts of lemon or vinegar, foods with a lot of salt in them like chips and other savoured snacks and sugary drinks or carbonated drinks.
It’s advisable to avoid these foods if one is experiencing this condition or these foods can also be the root cause of the condition.
Alcohol and Cigarettes: Alcohol severely dehydrates the body and causes dryness of mouth the next day. While smoking is not the root cause of this condition, it worsens the situation if one is already experiencing the dryness of mouth.
It is important to first identify what is causing the dryness of mouth. Drinking plenty of water and other hydrating fluids is the first step to cure this condition. If the cause is of a medicinal nature, the patient can either request her/his doctor to reduce the dosage of the medicine causing the condition of dryness or ask for a prescription of saliva-producing medicines. Avoiding certain foods mentioned above and staying away from caffeine, alcohol and cigarettes are also said to provide a great deal of relief.
Dryness of mouth is a very common condition that is experienced by most adults and can be treated rather easily with fluids, medicines and other lifestyle changes.
It’s also important to have an overall awareness about the foods that you intake and keep a regular check on your daily habits like smoking and frequency of water intake.