CAUSES OF DRY MOUTH
What Causes Dry Mouth?
Causes of dry mouth include
•Side effect of certain medications. Dry mouth is a common side effect of many prescription and nonprescription drugs, including drugs used to treat depression, anxiety, pain, allergies, and colds (antihistamines and decongestants), obesity, acne, epilepsy, hypertension (diuretics), diarrhea, nausea, psychotic disorders, urinary incontinence, asthma (certain bronchodilators), and Parkinson's disease. Dry mouth can also be a side effect of muscle relaxants and sedatives.
•Side effect of certain diseases and infections. Dry mouth can be a side effect of medical conditions, including Sjögren's syndrome, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, anemia, cystic fibrosis, rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension, Parkinson's disease, stroke, and mumps.
•Side effect of certain medical treatments. Damage to the salivary glands, the glands that make saliva, can reduce the amount of saliva produced. For example, the damage could stem from radiation to the head and neck, and chemotherapy treatments, for cancer.
•Nerve damage. Dry mouth can be a result of nerve damage to the head and neck area from an injury or surgery.
•Dehydration. Conditions that lead to dehydration, such as fever, excessive sweating, vomiting, diarrhea, blood loss, and burns can cause dry mouth.
•Surgical removal of the salivary glands.
•Lifestyle. Smoking or chewing tobacco can affect how much saliva you make and aggravate dry mouth. Breathing with your mouth open a lot can also contribute to the problem.
What Can I Do to Manage Dry Mouth?
To minimize dry mouth:
1. Drink water frequently to keep your mouth moist and loosen mucus. Carry water with you to sip throughout the day and keep water by your bed at night.
2. Suck on sugar-free hard candies, ice chips, or sugar-free popsicles. Chew sugarless gum (gums containing xylitol). These sucking and chewing actions help stimulate saliva flow.
3. Moisten foods with broths, soups, sauces, gravy, creams, and butter or margarine. Eat soft, moist foods that are cool or at room temperature.
4. Avoid commercial mouth rinses or mouthwashes that contain alcohol or peroxide. These ingredients will further dry out your mouth.
5. Avoid salty foods, dry foods (for example, crackers, toast, cookies, dry breads, dry meats/poultry/fish, dried fruit, bananas) and foods and beverages with high sugar content.
6. Avoid drinks containing alcohol or caffeine (for example, coffees, teas, some colas, chocolate-containing drinks). Alcohol increases water loss by triggering frequent urination. Alcohol, as well as caffeine, also dries out the mouth. Also avoid acidic beverages, such as any fruit juices (orange, apple, grape, grapefruit) and tomato juice.
Other tips to reduce irritation associated with dry mouth include:
1. Minimize your intake of spicy or salty foods as these may cause pain in a dry mouth.
2. Quit smoking.
3. Use a moisturizer on your lips to minimize irritation.
4. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush on your teeth and gums; rinse your mouth before and after meals with plain water or a mild mouth rinse (made with 8 ounces of water, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon baking soda). Brush with a fluoride-containing toothpaste.
5. Use a humidifier to increase the humidity in your home, especially at night.