Throughout everyday life, saliva is taken for granted. It’s only when there isn’t enough of it that we notice its absence. A lack of saliva in your mouth often results in dry mouth, a common condition experienced by many.

Continue reading to discover what dry mouth is, common causes, symptoms, and how our dentists can help.

What is Dry Mouth?

Dry mouth, or xerostomia, describes a condition in which an individual’s salivary glands do not produce enough natural saliva to keep their mouth wet. Those who suffer from dry mouth know it to be uncomfortable and frustrating especially when a cause is not immediately obvious.

Common Causes

If you are experiencing dry mouth, it could be due to:

  • Medications being taken
  • Aging
  • Cancer therapy
  • Nerve damage
  • Underlying health conditions such as diabetes, autoimmune diseases, or more
  • Tobacco and alcohol use

It is with a proper oral examination and review of your full health history that our dentists can determine what is responsible for your dry mouth.

Symptoms and Risks Associated with Dry Mouth

There are several notable symptoms tied to dry mouth. These symptoms should not be ignored as prolonged dry mouth can increase your risk for tooth decay, gum disease, and mouth infections.

Some symptoms caused by a lack of saliva include:

  • Dry or sticky feeling in your mouth
  • Thick or stringy saliva
  • Noticeably bad breath
  • Difficulty chewing, speaking, or swallowing
  • Dry or sore throat (hoarseness)
  • Red, raw, or dry tongue

Sometimes symptoms can resolve themselves on their own through advised medication adjustments, increased hydration, or abstinence from tobacco or alcohol. Making teeth brushing a priority at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste can also help alleviate dry mouth.

How Our Dentists Can Help

No matter what caused the onset of your dry mouth, relief is just an appointment away. You do not have to figure out the reason behind your condition on your own. After all, the culprit could be any number of things. Prevent further oral complications by seeing our dental professionals as soon as you’re able.

Depending on your medical history, recommended treatment options can include prescription or over-the-counter mouth rinses, artificial saliva or moisturizers, and fluoride trays. Chewing sugar-free gum on your own can also help stimulate natural saliva production.

Be sure to let one of our dentists know if a certain treatment is not working. We will do our best to review your condition further and suggest alternative options.

Seek Treatment Today

Dry mouth can be downright annoying and linked to several underlying causes. Fortunately, you do not have to endure this nagging condition on your own. Our dentists in West Michigan are available to help pinpoint the reason for your dry mouth and offer treatment to alleviate symptoms. Call one of our MI Smiles locations today to schedule an appointment and seek needed relief from dry mouth.