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When the salivary glands do not produce enough saliva, the mouth gets dry and uncomfortable. Due to certain conditions, such a phenomenon can occur and this condition is known as dry mouth or xerostomia. Xerostomia or dry mouth can occur due to multiple reasons. Read on more to find all about the different causes and symptoms of dry mouth.
- Side effects of certain medications: Dry mouth occurs due to the effect of certain prescription and nonprescription medications. Drugs used to treat depression, pain, allergies, anxiety, epilepsy, obesity, nausea and psychotic disorders can cause dry mouth condition as a side effect. Sedatives and muscle relaxers can also cause dry mouth.
- Side effects of certain disease and infections: Certain diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, mumps, diabetes, hypertension, cystic fibrosis, anemia and Parkinson’s disease can also cause dry mouth or xerostomia.
- Side effect of treatments: If the salivary glands are damaged due to certain reasons, then less saliva is secreted resulting in dry mouth. Certain treatments such as radiation treatments in the head and neck or chemotherapy sessions could indirectly cause dry mouth by damaging the salivary glands.
- Nerve damage: Dry mouth can also be due to a person suffering from nerve damage caused due to accident or surgery.
- Dehydration: Conditions like fever, excessive vomiting, diarrhea, excessive sweating, which cause dehydration can also cause dry mouth.
- Removal of salivary glands: Surgical removal of the salivary glands also causes dry mouth.
- Lifestyle choices: Certain lifestyle preferences such as chewing tobacco or smoking can cause dry mouth.
Dry mouth has several symptoms. If you have some or all of the symptoms mentioned below, then you are more than likely suffering from dry mouth.
- A sticky and dry feeling in the mouth.
- The frequent feeling of being thirsty.
- A dry, parched feeling in the throat.
- The tongue being dry, raw and red.
- There is discomfort and problem while you are speaking or experiencing problems with chewing, tasting or swallowing food.
- Experiencing dry nasal passages, a sore throat or hoarseness in the voice.
- A tingling or slightly burning sensation in the mouth but particularly in the tongue.
- Having a bad breath.
If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a dentist.
My gum is paining very badly from past two days and its also swelled up. I don't know what to do. Please help me.
While the mouth has the maximum amount of bacteria in the body, the highest concentration of bacteria in the mouth is on the tongue. It is therefore important to keep a clean tongue to avoid dental issues, starting from plaque formation to severe dental and oral infections.
Why clean the tongue: Before talking about how to go about keeping the tongue clean, let us look at why it should be done.
- Tongue cleaning is one of the main steps to maintaining a good oral hygiene.
- The bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease reside on the tongue, and cleaning it can remove the bacteria and therefore reduce tooth decay and gum disease.
- The bad odour produced by decay and gum disease can be avoided.
- Detoxifies the body - it is believed that toxin accumulation happens on the tongue, so daily cleaning helps detoxify the body.
- A cleaner tongue exposes the taste buds, thereby improving the perception of taste.
- Stimulate various other organs -The tongue has like pressure points that connect to various other body parts, and cleaning it helps stimulate these. The tip of the tongue activates the heart; the sides are connected to the spleen, liver, and gallbladder; so on and so forth.
- Cleaner looking tongue - Various food habits tend to give a color to the tongue. Caffeine, for instance, produces a yellow coating, which can be removed by regular brushing.
Choosing a tongue cleaner: Decide on the material and the type of the instrument. Either a plastic or metal or silicone cleaner will do the job equally well. In ancient times, gold or copper scrapers were used as it was believed to be good for health. Pick one of the three -tongue scrapers, tongue cleaners, or tongue brushes. All three are equally effective in cleaning the tongue of the bacteria. If required, motorized tongue cleaners are also available.
- Timing: Good to do it first thing in the morning. Overnight, there is a thick coating of bacteria on the tongue, and therefore cleaning the tongue in the morning is a good habit.
- Swish warm water: Begin with swishing your mouth with warm water, which loosens up the microbial film and thereby making it easier to remove.
- Scraping/Cleaning: Extend your tongue and start from the back of the tongue, as far back as possible without gagging. Toothpaste can be used on the scraper or cleaner if required. With slow, sweeping strokes, clean all the way to the front and then sideways.
- Duration: It is good practice to brush the tongue for about 90 seconds per day.
Tongue cleaning is a simple and effective way to maintain oral and general health. If you wish to discuss about any specific dental problem, you can consult a specialized dentist and ask a free question.