Everyone feels thirsty occasionally, but for some people that feeling is a chronic problem. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), studies show that 21.3 percent of men and 27.3 percent of women suffer from chronic dry mouth. If you're one of them, you may be concerned about the impact of your dry mouth and throat. Here's what you need to know about the situation.
Dry Mouth Is a Serious Problem
Dry mouth is much more than just an inconvenient thirsty feeling. If you have chronic dry mouth, it's very important that you seek treatment. This is because saliva does a lot more than just moisten your mouth; one of its key roles is to wash food particles off of your teeth. Without enough saliva, your risk of tooth decay is increased, says the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Saliva also protects your teeth from the acids in foods and drinks, and without this protection, your enamel is at risk of erosion too.
Home Remedies for Dry Mouth & Throat
There are many things you can do at home to stimulate the flow of saliva and make your dry mouth and throat feel better. Drinking enough water throughout the day can help keep your mouth moist, as can humidifying your house. Chewing sugar-free gum or sucking on sugar-free candies can also help stimulate your saliva. It's important to choose sugar-free options or else you may develop tooth decay.
Your dentist may also recommend changing the types of foods you eat. Crunchy foods like chips or popcorn can dry out your mouth, while juicy foods like fruits can moisten it.
Medications Are Available
Home remedies aren't always enough. However, if this is the case, your dentist can help you. Dentists can recommend products like artificial saliva that moisten your mouth. Artificial saliva is often a spray or gel that you apply to your mouth whenever it feels dry. Your dentist can also give you a prescription for pills that stimulate the flow of saliva.
If you’re looking for a toothpaste that is designed not to dehydrate your mouth as much as regular toothpaste, try using PreviDent® 5000 Dry Mouth (1.1% Sodium Fluoride) Prescription Strength Toothpaste for Dry Mouth (Rx Only) that is known to be less irritating and less likely to cause dryness. This will help keep your mouth comfortable and moist. This kind of toothpaste is only available with a prescription, so make sure to ask your dentist about it.
There May Be an Underlying Cause
There are many medical conditions that can cause dry mouth, so if your dentist diagnoses you, your next visit should be to your doctor. According to the NIH, dry mouth has been linked to problems like depression, anxiety, nutritional deficiencies and autoimmune disorders. Autoimmune disorders include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and Sjrogen's syndrome.
Chronic dry mouth can also be a side effect of various medications, such as those treating high blood pressure, pain or asthma. If medications are the cause, your dosage may need to be adjusted or you may need to be prescribed a different drug altogether.
Dry mouth and throat is a serious problem. If you always feel thirsty, you'll need to see your dentist. Dentists can help you manage your symptoms and keep your teeth safe from the effects of low saliva.
Learn more about artificial saliva in the Colgate Oral Care resources.