Xerostomia, the Dry Mouth Syndrome

Oral dryness irritates the soft tissues of the mouth, making infections more likely to appear, provoke an increase of caries or even contribute to bad breath.

The 90% of the Spanish population has caries, the 50% periodontal problems and the 30% gingival issues. Nevertheless, there are other less known pathologies like the dry mouth syndrome, a pathology present only in the 20 and 30 % of the population, being more specific the 40% of the population over 55. Probably most of you have had the feeling of a dry mouth occasionally. It is related usually to nervousness moments or stressful and worrying situations. The oral dryness is known by professionals by xerostomia, a feeling of a lack of saliva in our mouth. Moreover, the radiotherapy on head and neck or some kind of medicines is sometimes the cause of a dry mouth.

Xerostomía 1
Probably most of you have had the feeling of a dry mouth occasionally.

More than 500 medicines like antihistamines (for allergies or asthma) or antihypertensive (for the arterial tension) may provoke this side effect. Saliva is essential to obtain a healthy mouth so when the normal flow is reduced a lot of problems can appear when chewing, swallowing, tasting or even talking. For instance, the oral dryness increases the bacterial plaque in gums and the incidence of the periodontal illness. What are the symptoms?

  • Burning sensation and pain in the tongue.
  • Extra dry mouth.
  • Cracks in the lips’ commissure.
  • Increase of thirsty of difficulty to allocate the dentures, in case of patients who don’t conserve their teeth.
  • Foamy or viscous saliva.
Xerostomía 3
It is recommended to visit the dentist if the feeling becomes permanent.

There is no problem if it happens occasionally but it is recommended to visit the dentist if the feeling becomes permanent. What can you do? If you are suffering these symptoms do not hesitate talking with your dentist about this annoying sensation. He will determine the protocol to follow.  Once the kind of case is identified, the treatment will be saliva substitutes or any kind of oral moisturizing to keep the mouth wet. If the pathology is due to medicines, the dentist may have to contact the prescriber to recommend him to reduce the prescription of this sort of medicines.

Xerostomía 4
Keep an extreme oral cleaning routine to reduce infections and caries.

What kind of routines can you follow?

  • Keep an extreme oral cleaning routine to reduce infections and caries.
  • Rinse your mouth with a solution made of salt and soda, 4 to 6 times a day to wet the mucous and relieve the discomfort.
  • Take small sips of water to relieve the oral dryness.
  • Brush your teeth with soft bristles and tooth paste with fluorine.
  • Chew really well the food to produce more quantity of saliva.
  • Avoid the intake of alcohol and smoking cigarettes.
  • And of course, visit the dentist to get revisions regularly and to not stop smiling.
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