Dry mouth syndrome is characterized as inadequate saliva in the mouth. It is usually an indication of an underlying health issue. There are various factors that can cause constant dry mouth including medical treatments, prescription medications and some autoimmune diseases such as Sjogren’s syndrome.
Indications of dry mouth syndrome
The usual symptoms include the following:
- Thick or stringy saliva
- Dry, rough tongue
- Tendency of the tongue to stick against the roof of the mouth
- Mouth ulcers
- Bad breath
- Issues with swallowing or chewing
- Cracked and dry lips
- Prickly, burning sensation in the mouth
- Increased susceptibility to oral thrush
- Increased rate of developing tooth decay
- Acrylic dentures become loose
What are the causes?
Various conditions whether short or long term can disrupt with the production of saliva. These conditions might include:
- Certain medications can cause dry mouth such as high blood pressure medications, antihistamines, decongestants, sedatives, antidepressants, analgesics and even prohibited drugs such as cocaine.
- Dehydration – low intake of fluids can cause the saliva to thicken and lead to a dry mouth.
- Sjogren’s syndrome is an autoimmune ailment affecting the eyes and salivary glands but also the sweat glands.
- Infection whether viral or bacterial of the salivary glands can trigger inflammation and limit the production of saliva
- Obstruction of the salivary duct
- Nerve issues – damage to the facial nerves that control the salivary glands
- Certain diseases such as cerebral palsy, AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, amyloidosis, diabetes, lupus and primary biliary cirrhosis
- Some cancer treatments such as radiotherapy or chemotherapy
The treatment for the syndrome is based on the cause, but usually include the following:
- Changes to medications – if the individual has been using a medication that cause dry mouth as a side effect, the doctor might change the dosage or prescribe a different medication.
- Dry mouth products – these products include various agents such as lubricants that can alleviate a dry mouth. These include mouthwash, toothpastes, gums and topical gels.
- Saliva substitutes – an artificial saliva substitute might be prescribed by the doctor.
- Anti-fungal drugs and antibiotics
- Surgery is usually advised to deal with salivary gland blockages such as stones