A dry mouth problem may seem like a minor inconvenience; however, the dry mouth can lead to more serious dental problems if this concern is not treated soon enough. The feeling of a parched and extremely dry mouth can be experienced once in a while when one feels nervous or anxious – but if the problem is a persistent one that does not go away even with drinking water or other beverages, more tests may be needed to get to the root of the dry mouth problem.
A person who suffers from a dry mouth problem does not produce enough saliva to keep the inside of the mouth moist. The decrease in saliva production can cause dental problems to develop, since saliva helps in protecting the mouth from infections, controls bacteria inside the mouth, aids in tooth decay prevention, and also washes away any food particles that are left after eating.
Dry Mouth Causes
A dry mouth problem can be caused by any one of these factors:
- Side Effects of Medications – A number of medications are known to cause dry mouth symptoms; included in the list of these medications are medicines for depression and high blood, pain relievers, antihistamines, and decongestants.
- Side Effects of Medical Treatments – Medical treatments, such as radiation and chemotherapy, can cause dry mouth problems. Temporary or permanent damage to the salivary glands can be caused by radiation therapy (usually as a part of cancer treatment). Chemotherapy, on the other hand, can cause the saliva to take on a thicker consistency – and can make the mouth feel much dryer.
- Medical Conditions – Dry mouth and decreased saliva production may be caused by certain medical conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis, mumps, cystic fibrosis, and anemia.
- Menopause – The hormonal changes that come with the onset of menopause may affect the salivary glands, causing dry mouth problems.
- Smoking/Tobacco Use – People who smoke or use tobacco products are more susceptible to dry mouth conditions.
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