What Does Dry Mouth Feel Like?
When your mouth produces too little saliva, the skin around your mouth becomes dry and tight. Lack of saliva can cause dry, cracked lips, and even sores at the corners of your mouth. Dry mouth causes your tongue to feel rough and dry and make it difficult or uncomfortable to swallow and talk.
What are the Effects of Dry Mouth?
Saliva does more than just help control your thirst. When your mouth produces little or no saliva, it affects the way you taste and digest what you eat and drink. Saliva is there to flush the particles from your teeth and reduce the acid that causes tooth decay.
Bad Breath and Decay
If saliva isn’t available to remove the food particles and debris, you increase your chances of having bad breath. Not only can it cause bad breath, but also the particles or debris that get trapped in your mouth can cause your teeth to decay. Dry mouth can also cause hoarseness and irritation in the back of the throat.
Cigarettes and Cigars
Smoking is one of the most known correlations to dry mouth. While smoking doesn't actually cause dry mouth itself, it can aggravate it. This includes cigarettes, cigars, pipes, or other tobacco products, even smokeless ones.
Medications Can Cause It
Over 400 types of medication can cause dry mouth. This includes everything from prescription medicines to over the counter drugs for allergies and colds. Many of the medications that cause dry mouth include high blood pressure, overactive bladder, and mental health problem prescriptions. Chemotherapy can cause saliva to thicken, and radiation can damage the salivary glands.
Medical Problems Can Cause It
If you’ve suffered nerve damage from a head or neck injury, this could be one of the causes of your dry mouth. There are nerves that carry messages between the brain and the salivary glands. This means that if these nerves are damaged, they may not be able to get the messages to produce saliva. An autoimmune disorder called Sjogren’s syndrome can also cause dry mouth. Sjogren’s syndrome causes white blood cells to attack the body’s tear and salivary glands.
Treatments and Preventative Options
A doctor or dentist can help if you have dry mouth, but there are also some simple tips that can help prevent or treat dry mouth. Brush your teeth using a toothpaste containing xylitol. Xylitol is a natural sweetener with antimicrobial properties that cleans the teeth and moisturizes the mouth without harsh chemicals or detergents that can cause more dryness. Follow up your dental routine with an alcohol-free mouthwash containing xylitol and try out moisturizing mouth spray throughout the day.