What is xerostomia (Dry Mouth)?
Dry mouth, also called xerostomia, is the result of not having enough saliva in your mouth. You may notice you have a dry tongue, lips or throat. Because saliva helps you taste and digest food, dry mouth can make eating difficult or embarrassing. Saliva also lubricates and protects your mouth from infection and protects your teeth from the acids in food. Reduced saliva flow, which causes Dry Mouth, can damage mouth tissue and contribute to both dental decay and bad breath.
Recognizing Dry Mouth symptoms
The effects of Dry Mouth may be severe, moderate or mild. Mild sufferers are unlikely to even know they are affected. Maybe you’ve noticed food sticking to the roof of your mouth or difficulty swallowing. You probably see your Dry Mouth symptoms as normal, and simply try drinking more.
If you’re a moderate Dry Mouth sufferer, you may also be unaware of it.
Dry lips are a symptom of xerostomia and you may develop sores at the corners of your mouth. You might learn to avoid certain foods, and denture-wearers will find that their dentures don’t stay in place. Your attempts at xerostomia treatment at this level may include drinking more, sucking sweets or applying lip balm.
Severe sufferers of Dry Mouth will find that the symptoms have a serious impact on their quality of life. A dry tongue and dry throat may make it painful to eat and you may develop mouth ulcers or fungal infections. Your dentist may see widespread decay, serious plaque levels and food debris, as well as a “pebbled” tongue and red and shiny tongue and cheeks.