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Roseman Dental: Causes of Dry Mouth

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(KUTV) What are the Causes of Dry Mouth? Registered Dental Hygienist Vaughn Hixson from Roseman University visited Fresh Living to talk about the common problem.

Dry mouth is one of the most common oral issues that people havemost people ignore it or don't think it's important enough to bring up with a dentist, but it's not something that you need to suffer with.

What is Dry Mouth?

  • Dry Mouth is the feeling that there is no enough saliva in the mouth - in dental terms, it's called xerostomia (ZEER-oh-STOH-me-uh)
  • Common symptoms include sticky, dry feeling, trouble chewing, swallowing, or speaking, dry throat, cracked lips, mouth sores, and infection
  • Dry mouth is more likely to affect the elderly, especially those taking medications for high blood pressure and depression

Causes of Dry Mouth

  • Temporary dry mouth can occur when a person is feeling nervous, upset, or under stress, or when s/he is dehydrated
  • Chronic dry mouth can be caused by medication - over 400 medications list dry mouth as a side effect
  • Other causes of chronic dry mouth include radiation therapy, nerve damage, chemotherapy, and certain chronic diseases

Why Patients Should Pay Attention to Dry Mouth

  • Saliva helps digest food, prevent tooth decay, and control bacteria in the mouth to prevent infection
  • The effects of dry mouth can be compounded by taking multiple medications
  • Patients who experience dry mouth should take extra good care to brush teeth twice a day, floss daily, drink water regularly, and avoid sticky or sugary foods that could harbor bacteria

Patients Don't Have to Suffer from Dry Mouth

  • Talk to your dentist about your symptoms
  • If symptoms are related to medications, a physician may be able to adjust your dose or find another medication that doesn't have dry mouth as a side effect
  • There is also medication to help with salivary gland production if the problem is related to not producing enough saliva

If you suffer from dry mouth, visit your dentist at least twice a year and talk to him/her about your symptoms. If you don't have a dentist, visit the Dental Clinic at Roseman University.

For more information, visit rosemandental.com or call (801) 878-1200.

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