Do you routinely wake up thirsty or with “sticky,” “tacky” saliva. This condition is called xerostomia (dry-mouth) and it could be causing a lot of problems for you! Xerostomia can lead to speech and eating difficulties, halitosis (bad breath), an increase in the number of dental cavities (saliva is the mouths natural acid buffer that helps prevent tooth decay), and infections in the mouth, such as thrush.
There are a lot of causes of dry-mouth, the most common being a side effect to certain medications. This can be solved by having your physician altering the type of medication. Other causes can be systemic diseases (disease that affect the ENTIRE body) like systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, sarcoidosis, amyloidosis, Sjögren’s Syndrome, Parkinson’s, diabetes, or hypothyroidism. Direct causes of xerostomia could be self-inflicted like smoking, or excessive exercise.
Individuals undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy are extremely susceptible to dry mouth and hence developing mouth sores and rampant cavities. If you or a loved one are scheduled to undergo chemotherapy or radiation therapy make sure to tell us in advance so that we can review hygiene and in some cases, make customized fluoride trays to help prevent cavities.
Make sure to tell us about your dry mouth episodes during your next visit. There are many ways to prevent the after-effects of dry mouth that we would love to share with you.