“I am not in the Sahara Desert, I am not running a marathon and I have not eaten a kilo of potato chips and pretzels….So why do I have a DRY MOUTH??”
Saliva plays a very important protective role in our mouth for our teeth and soft tissues. In fact little saliva means lots of decay and gum inflammation. It obviously lubricates so we can speak and swallow, and it starts digestion with the saliva’s enzymes. To have a dry mouth caused by little or no saliva is a common debilitating problem which is officially called Xerostomia, and can have multiple origins.
Let’s try to uncover 10 different reasons why one may have a dry mouth. And then some tricks (5) to resolve it.
Reasons for Dry Mouth
Reason #1 is easy: you drink too little. At least 1.5 to 2 litres of water should be drunk every day.
Reason #2/ You are an oral breather. This means you are dissipating and evaporating precious saliva with your mouth open in a resting position or while sleeping. So, fix it and become a nose-breather.
#3/ Heavy smokers nearly always have dry mouths. Cigarettes evaporate saliva. And the nicotine and other toxic components make the soft tissues anemic and that causes the function of your salivary glands to diminish drastically.
#4/ Heavy alcohol drinkers. In this case, the salivary glands shrink and wither. They lose their capacity to produce sufficient saliva. We dentists easily recognize this alcohol damage in the mouth from the atrophic and fragile soft tissues. So now you understand why heavy drinkers are truly always thirsty.
#5/ Women who go through menopause. They may have a dry mouth as a temporary symptom caused by hormonal changes, but it may linger as a definite condition.
#6/ Patients who use many different drugs for health reasons for longer periods of time. Now I am not talking only about diuretics, which drive out liquids from your whole body, but I would like you to be especially aware of the antis-. For example anti-hypertensives, anti-inflammatories, anti-biotics, anti-histamines, and anti-coagulants. We use many antis- on a daily basis and as a collateral effect they may cause decreased saliva production.
#7/ Let’s not forget about anti-depressants. People who suffer from Depression have low saliva production and on top of that with the use of anti-depressants, this lack of saliva in your mouth worsens even more. The same goes for people with metabolic disorders. They usually suffer from ipo-salivation and dry mouth.
#8/ People who suffer from Sjogren syndrome, an auto-immune health condition that causes, among other things, the atrophic salivary gland. There are probably more autoimmune disorders with these symptoms.
#9/ People who undergo radiotherapy in the head-neck region or chemotherapy may have reduced saliva production.
#10/ Salivary gland stones can be painful and may cause a temporary diminished production of saliva. Temporary, because the stones do not usually appear in all salivary glands at the same time, and once the stones have been removed saliva production should return to normal.
Now what to do if you suffer from a dry mouth?
It is of utmost importance to understand if your salivary glands are still capable of producing saliva. Try to find out with a test. Eat acidic fruit or chew strong chewing gum to see if you have saliva production. If yes…then stimulate them all the time!
A/ Not only should you actually eat lemons, but you should also think about them. Think about the moment of biting into a lemon and remember the feeling of how the salivary glands in your mouth contracted and produced a saliva fountain. This is called the Pavlov reflex, and you can train it. Whenever I think of …. that happens to my body. Remember the times and circumstances when saliva flowed in your mouth. Your favorite foods, SEX, whatever does the trick.
B/ Place tooth paste in your mouth, on the inside of your lower jaw and on the outside upper jaw on the border tooth-gum and leave it there. Saliva flows guaranteed.
C/ “Milk your salivary” glands in your cheeks. Lightly bite on them with your molars so you can squeeze it out.
D/ But everything starts with Drinking enough water. With these new @WATERDROPS tablets dissolved in water which give a special taste, water is less boring to drink. It can help.
E/ If your test to produce saliva is negative because of one of the not-so-easy-to-resolve-reasons, then use substitute saliva bought in the pharmacy.
Saliva is important and we cannot do without it. So my message is to come for a visit if you suffer from a dry mouth and cannot find its origin, and also for your Dental check-up at Studio Moll ;))
See my video “Public speaking: Help I have a dry mouth” I made with WINner Public Speaking Coach Elia Nichols where we discuss remedies for dry mouths while speaking in public.
For any questions, you can contact Studio Moll
Whatsapp: 331-6368628, or tel: 055-755347
By Dr. Elena Speranza Moll
Via Amilcare Ponchielli 21B, 50018 Scandicci –Firenze
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