Dry mouth is a very common malady. Sometimes it stems from something external, such as being fitted for a new pair of dentures and your mouth not having enough time to adjust. In other cases, it stems from something internal such as an injured saliva gland or a disease. If you’re like most people, you’re probably inclined to just try to ignore dry mouth. After all, you can relieve the symptoms on your own with some ice chips and water. But if you have chronic dry mouth, meaning that you have it consistently for more than a few weeks, you may need to schedule a check-up. Dry mouth has many underlying causes, and some of them are serious.
Symptoms of a Developing Disease
A common side effect in numerous diseases is chronic dry mouth. Typically, this goes beyond just a general dryness of the mouth and extends to an even lower saliva production rate. This means that when you’re trying to chew your food, you will have difficulty swallowing it because there is not as much saliva.
The most common diseases associated with dry mouth are Showgren’s Syndrome, lupus, diabetes, and HIV/AIDs. It is also a possible side effect with periodontal gum disease. Showgren’s Syndrome can be eliminated as a possibility if you are not dry elsewhere. Showgren’s typically extends to an overall dryness throughout the entire body, including the eyes, mouth, and skin.
To determine whether your dry mouth is cause for concern, make sure that you are drinking enough water. If you are drinking between 64 and 86 fluid ounces of water a day, you should not be dehydrated. Give it some time, and if the dry mouth persists, then contact a physician. Remember to watch for other symptoms that could be telling. Periodontal gum disease, for instance, often results in red and bloody gums with inflammation around the teeth. HIV/AIDs includes other symptoms such as weight loss, cracking nails, and insomnia. If more serious signs than the dry mouth emerge within this time, it is important to inform your physician immediately.
Side Effect of a Treatment
Sometimes the treatments that you go through will lead to an increased dryness of the mouth. If you have just been fitted for dentures, it’s not uncommon to struggle with dry mouth at first. Dry mouth is also a common side effect of therapeutic irradiation, particularly when the cancer is located in the head and the neck. Individuals who have been through bone marrow transplants often struggle with this as well.
Many drugs and medications also result in a general feeling of dryness. This is particularly common when the medication is treating a fever or an infection because it results in an overall effect that stimulates dehydration. Weight loss pills have also been known to create similar effects as well.
Sucking on ice chips and sipping water is generally the best quick solution. Do not take water pills unless prescribed though. In many cases, the dry mouth corrects itself in time. However, in situations involving therapeutic irradiation, you may have to be placed on a medication that heals the saliva glands and stimulates saliva production.