Let’s be honest, we don’t think about the role Saliva plays in our overall oral health. We all need saliva to cleanse and moisten our mouths, breakdown food, and to control the bacteria. It also works are a major defense mechanism in protecting your mouth from gum disease and tooth decay. When you don’t produce enough saliva a condition like ‘Dry Mouth’ can occur.
Xerostomia (zeer-o-STOE-me-uh), more commonly known as ‘Dry Mouth’ is a condition where your salivary glands do not produce enough saliva to keep your mouth wet. This condition causes a dry, parched feeling in your mouth, and can also cause other symptoms, such as bad breath, a dry throat, and cracked lips.
There can be multiple reasons for why Dry mouth occurs. Dehydration, stress, anxiety, aging, mouth breathing, snoring and smoking/ recreational drug use. Additionally, side effects from the use of medications (especially for depression, anxiety, diarrhea, high blood pressure, and asthma), antihistamines, diurectics, and some chemotherapy medications can also be culprits.
Particularity, those who suffer from diabetes, oral thrush (a yeast infection in the mouth which can damage your salivary glands), nerve damage in the head or neck, have certain autoimmune disorders, and Alzheimer’s disease are at an increased risk.
Dry mouth on its own isn’t always a serious cause for concern, as it has been known to be a temporary condition. However, in some cases it can be a symptom of an underlying health issue. It is always recommended to speak to your physician to confirm a diagnosis and before making changes to your diet or routine.
It is also important to be on top of your oral health care. Brush and floss your teeth daily and get a dental checkup and cleaning at least every six months.
Emma Johnson is the owner of Pearl Boutique, a clinic that specializes in teeth whitening. She is a registered dental hygienist and completed her diploma at Camosun College, which offers one of the best recognized dental hygiene programs in Canada. Emma also holds a health science degree in kinesiology from the University of the Fraser Valley.