What Specialists Treat Dry Mouth
The type of doctor who should treat dry mouth depends on the cause. A person noticing symptoms of dry mouth should first consult with their dentist for a consult and exam. A general dentist will do a review of medications, health history, lifestyle, diet, and other things that could contribute to dry mouth. They will then perform an intraoral examination to confirm diminished salivary flow and to determine the effects it has had on the dentition and oral tissues. The management and maintenance of oral health will be the most important element of this relationship.
If it is determined that there is salivary gland dysfunction, the dentist may partner with an ENT physician who specializes in salivary gland disorders to help improve the condition.
How Does Stress Anxiety And Dry Mouth Affect Your Mouth
Stress, Anxiety and Dry Mouth Dry mouth or xerostomia is a condition in which your salivary glands dont make enough saliva. Consequently mouth becomes dry. Saliva helps prevent tooth decay, slows bacterial growth and, cleans away food particles. Saliva helps in many other ways. Stress makes you uncomfortable in many ways.
Reasons You May Have A Dry Mouth
We all know drinking enough water is good for our health. And when youre feeling parched, theres nothing better than a tall drink of ice-cold water to dampen that dry mouth of yours.
But what do you do when you find yourself constantly needing to wet your whistle?
There are numerous reasons you could be suffering from dry mouth. Below are the top five.
PhysiologicSometimes having a dry mouth is just a normal part of life. Temporary anxiety, open-mouthed breathing, mild dehydration, menopause, pregnancy, and decreased saliva due to sleep are all normal causes of dry mouth.
Prescription medicationSixty-three percent of the top 200 most commonly prescribed drugs in the U.S. are known to cause dry mouth. And the higher the number of medications a person takes, the higher the chance of dry mouth.
Thats why as we age, we tend to experience more instances of dry mouth. Its not necessarily age-related, but our consumption of medication may cause this side effect.
Habitual use of alcohol and tobaccoUse of any of these products will dry out the oral cavity.Please drink in moderation, and make sure to up your water intake when you imbibe. As for tobacco, we always recommend quitting as soon as possible.
Chronic DiseaseDiabetes, Sjogrens disease, Sarcoidosis, Hepatitic C can all cause dry mouth.
We recommend visiting us or your doctor for a consultation on why you may be experiencing a dry mouth
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Teeth Grinding During Sleep
Teeth grinding during sleep is not only annoying our partners, its dangerous to our health as well. When under stress, our bodies are tense, so are the jaw muscles. Clenching and grinding is called bruxism and it leads to teeth and jaw damage. If this habit is not dealt with, teeth get worn out over time and the fractures and cracks are not uncommon. Here is the worst case scenario: patients can also develop a syndrome called TMD which causes a chronic jaw pain, headaches, ear pain and reduced jaw mobility. There are many ways to prevent TMD. Some of them are avoiding chewing gum, resting your jaw as much as you can, eating softer foods and paying attention to your posture.
Lifestyle Causes Of Dry Mouth
Mouth breathing: Many people breathe through their mouth without realizing it, especially at night. The salivary glands slow production while youre sleeping anyway, but breathing through your mouth only exacerbates the dryness. In the morning you may find it difficult to talk or swallow and have an urge to drink water immediately.
You may mouth breathe out of habit, or because of an underlying issue like sleep apnea, allergies, an illness, a deviated septum, stress, or the shape of your nose. A formal sleep study is a good way to determine the root cause of your sleep issues, but they can be expensive and inconvenient. As an alternative, an at-home sleep test may be helpful.
Smoking or chewing tobacco: Smoking or chewing tobacco can decrease saliva production as well as upset the natural bacteria in the mouth, causing a further increase in dry mouth symptoms.
Stress: In recent years weve learned that stress can contribute to a multitude of health conditions, including weight gain, insomnia, and high blood pressure. And as it turns out, stress can also cause temporary dry mouth. This is important to keep in mind if you have a sudden onset of dry mouth that lasts only a few days at a time. However, if the condition is persistent, there may be another underlying cause.
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Anxiety Dry Mouth And Throat
How To Stop The Sensation Of A Dry Mouth
The difficulty in dealing with dry mouth depends primarily on the cause. Dry mouth caused by medication may reqiure a different dose, a different medication, or a different type of medication that can be provided by your doctor or dentist. There are both prescription and non-prescription treatments and washes that increase salivary production.
If you are not currently taking any medication and doctors have ruled out any other causes of dry mouth, its possible that anxiety is solely to blame. In that case, first simply try drinking water and chewing gum – two small behaviors that moisten the mouth. Although this may not treat all anxiety related dry mouth, some people find that the increase in saliva and cool feeling of water against the tongue can be mentally refreshing.
If the cause of your dry mouth appears to be anxiety, and is not related to the medications you are taking to cure it, then the next step is to work on anxiety reduction strategies. For example:
Although medications can also be effective, those that struggle with anxiety related dry mouth will want to talk about their distress with their doctor, to ensure that anything you take for your anxiety wont affect your symptoms.
Dry mouth may be the result of mouth breathing, acid reflux, medications, and several other anxiety-related issues. Identifying the cause is important. Eliminating dry mouth from anxiety typically requires commitment to long term anxiety reduction.
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Consequences Of Dry Mouth
Cavities: You may think that poor brushing and flossing habits is the primary cause of cavity formation, but that distinction actually belongs to dry mouth.
Cavities are holes in your teeth that are formed by bacteria that excrete acids onto the teeth. These acids then eat away at enamel, causing decay. In a healthy mouth, saliva protects against these acids and prevent cavities by washing away harmful bacteria and supporting remineralization.
Dry mouth obviously disrupts this process by not allowing teeth to bathe in saliva, and it can also cause the pH of the mouth drop into the acidic zone, which further promotes cavities by allowing harmful bacteria to multiply. Even a few hours of dry mouth can disrupt the mouths microbiome and increase your chances of a cavity.
Imbalanced oral microbiome: Just like your gut, your mouth has a microbiome that affects your health. When the bacteria in your mouth are balanced, it promotes healing, remineralization, and an overall happy mouth. But when the oral microbiome disrupted due to dry mouth, leading to an overgrowth of bad bacteria and a decrease in the numbers of beneficial bacteria, the risk for infection, cavities, and oral yeast infection goes up.
Mouth sores: Without enough saliva to neutralize the acids in your mouth and hydrate delicate oral tissue, painful mouth sores can occur. These are especially common in cancer patients.
How To Get Rid Of The Dry Mouth Anxiety Symptoms
When this symptom is caused by mouth-breathing, upset stomach, dehydration, or the side effects of medication, addressing the specific cause will eliminate dry mouth symptoms.
When this symptom is caused by an active stress response, ending the active stress response will bring a return to normal salivation.
Keep in mind it can take up to 20 minutes or more for the body to recover from a major stress response.
When this symptom is caused by hyperstimulation, eliminating hyperstimulation will eliminate its symptoms, including chronic dry mouth.
Containing anxious behavior, reducing stress, increasing rest, regular deep relaxation, regular light to moderate exercise, getting good sleep, and eating a healthy diet of fresh and whole foods can help the body recover from hyperstimulation.
As the body recovers from hyperstimulation, it stops presenting symptoms, including dry mouth.
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Physical Effects Of Dry Mouth
Saliva protects your mouth, and without a steady flow of it, you may be prone to developing cavities and other oral problems. In addition to mineralizing your teeth, saliva maintains the health of your soft and hard mouth tissues by washing away food particles. Moreover, it can neutralize the acids that mouth bacteria produce.
Its crucial to note that stress can weaken your immune system, making you more vulnerable to dental infections due to a lack of saliva, which otherwise provides your body with disease-fighting substances.
Oral & Facial Surgery Of Utah Can Help
If youve been experiencing dry mouth for the past few months, then you may have developed cavities and plaque due to a lack of saliva. You will need to consult with a dentist or oral surgeon who can help restore your dental health. The board-certified oral surgeons at Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah are more than happy to help you find relief and answer your questions. Schedule your free consultation today.
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Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors
SSRIs are antidepressants and mood enhancers, working by enabling more serotonin to be available to the brain. They are commonly prescribed for generalized anxiety. SSRIs can, however, still cause Dry Mouth. Anticholinergics are medications that would block actions of acetylcholine, which is a type of neurotransmitter. This would result in blockage of involuntary muscle movements and various bodily functions. An example of such are typically related to the production of saliva, digestion, urination or movements. SSRIs you might recognize include citalopram, fluoxetine and sertraline.
What Are Home Remedies And Treatment Options For Dry Mouth
Those seeking treatment for dry mouth will most likely want something to provide comfort and relief. Most are over-the-counter remedies. Treatment for dry mouth can be divided into the following four categories: saliva preservation, saliva substitution, saliva stimulation, and prevention of caries, and yeast infection.
Saliva preservation: If salivary content is low, one must do as much as possible to keep the oral tissues as moist as possible and limit the things that can dry the mouth out. Those experiencing dry mouth should try to breathe through their nose as much as possible, and limit mouth breathing. Avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco is very important. Using a humidifier to introduce more moisture to a room or at bedside can be helpful, especially while sleeping. Dont use OTC antihistamines or decongestants, as they can dry the mouth out as well.
Saliva stimulation: Chewing gum can help stimulate salivary flow, but it is important to remember not to use gum or candies that have sugar in them or the person will be placed at greater risk for developing cavities. Sugar-free lemon drops, lozenges, or other hard candies can also help stimulate the salivary glands. Other remedies include medications that help increase salivary flow such as pilocarpine and cevimeline . These prescription medications are to be avoided by people with asthma or glaucoma.
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Dry Mouth And Eyes When Waking Up
If you have dry eyes and dry mouth when you wake up in the morning, the culprit can be environmental. Check your sleeping area for drafts, fans, and other irritants that could be drying out your airways and eyes overnight. You may also wake up with dry eyes or mouth if you have allergies, take certain medications, or sleep with your mouth open.
Common Descriptions Of The Dry Mouth Anxiety Symptom Include:
- Your mouth feels unusually dry.
- Youve noticed you dont have as much saliva as you normally would.
- You find it hard to swallow because of a lack of saliva.
- Your tongue feels dry or sticky.
- Youve been diagnosed with xerostomia or reduced salivation.
- You are suddenly having problems with bad breath.
- You are having difficulty chewing, speaking, and swallowing.
- Your tongue suddenly looks grooved.
- Youve experienced a sudden change in taste.
- You are suddenly having problems wearing your dentures.
- You notice that your lipstick is sticking to your teeth.
- You have difficulty chewing and swallowing food due to a lack of saliva.
- You have so little saliva that you cant even spit.
Dry mouth can occur rarely, frequently, or persist 24/7 day after day.
It can precede, accompany, or follow an escalation of other anxiety symptoms or occur by itself.
The dry mouth anxiety symptom can precede, accompany, or follow an episode of nervousness, anxiety, and stress or occur “out of the blue” for no apparent reason.
Dry mouth can range in intensity from slight, to moderate, to severe.
This symptom can change from day to day, moment to moment, or remain as a constant backdrop to your struggle with anxiety disorder.
All of the above combinations and variations are common.
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It Is Not Uncommon To Experience Dry Mouth As You Age But It Is Not Directly Caused By Age Itself It Has Many Possible Causes Including Age
You are even at higher risk to develop dry mouth if you breathe too often through your mouth rather than your nose!
Despite being uncomfortable, dry mouth alone is not a severe issue as long as it is not persistent. If it is, it can lead to various long-term health issues, ranging from irritating to dangerous. Someone who suffers from chronic dry mouth will likely experience mouth sores, splits at the corners of the mouth, cracked lips, increased plaque buildup & a greater risk of tooth decay & gum disease. You might even start to have nutrition issues, because the lack of saliva makes it more difficult to break down food when you eat.