How can mouth dryness be prevented and treated?
It is important to treat and try to prevent dryness in the mouth, to secure the best conditions for oral health.
But which remedies should you use for dry mouth?
Good oral hygiene
First and foremost, it is important always to maintain good oral hygiene.
Clean your teeth twice a day – morning and evening. Neither more nor less. If you brush your teeth too much, it will wear both your teeth and gums.
Make sure you use a soft toothbrush and avoid pressing too hard as you brush.
Use dental floss between your teeth, where your toothbrush cannot reach. Food remnants often get stuck there, and must be removed before they cause damage to your teeth.
You can perhaps use a mouthwash to ensure fresh breath.
A healthy mouth means smooth teeth, pink gums and fresh breath.
Apply mouth gel to your mouth
If you really have trouble with a dry mouth, you need to use the right products. Use Australian Bodycare Mouth Gel, for example, as it is specially formulated to work against the dry sensation in your mouth.
The active ingredient in Mouth Gel is Tea Tree Oil, which is antibacterial, while the gel also contains Panthenol and Allantoin, which both counter the dry sensation in your mouth and provide moisture.
To reduce the discomfort, you should use the gel one to four times a day – depending on the extent of the problem. You need not brush your teeth before use, but it is a good idea to rinse your mouth with water before applying the gel.
Press about two centimetres out on your toothbrush or finger, and spread it on your teeth, tongue and gums. Do not eat or drink for 30 minutes after applying the mouth gel – that way you get the greatest benefit.
Pastilles and sprays
There are various pastilles, sprays and chewing gums on the market, designed to help with dryness in the mouth.
The various remedies for dry mouth stimulate the secretion of saliva, so that the increased saliva relieves the dry sensation in the mouth.
NB: Always see your doctor or dentist if the dryness in your mouth does not disappear. It is important to deal with the problem, so that it does not become serious and damage your health.
Some advice: 5 ways to avoid and prevent dry mouth
- Drink plenty of water, preferably 2-3 litres a day.
- Avoid sugary foods.
- Stop smoking – that in itself causes a dry sensation in the mouth.
- Reduce your alcohol intake – alcohol dries the mouth.
- Brush your teeth and maintain good oral hygiene.
What is dry mouth?
Dry mouth is a condition in which you feel that the mucous membranes in your mouth stick to your teeth, and also find you really cannot swallow your food easily.
It is typically a feeling of having too little saliva in the mouth. The professional medical term for dry mouth is xerostomia.
Who suffers most often from dry mouth?
Everyone can suffer from dry mouth. You have probably had the feeling, for example, if you have been nervous, or not had enough to drink for a long time.
Around 20 % of adults experience dry mouth to a greater or lesser extent – and usually it is older people who are affected. This is not due to age, but to other causes, which you can read more about below.
Symptoms of dry mouth
There may be various indications of dry mouth. What should you look out for?
The most frequent symptoms of dry mouth:
- Dry feeling in the throat.
- Cracked lips.
- Red, dry tongue.
- Ulcers in the mouth.
- A dry, sticky sensation in the mouth.
- A feeling of burning in the mouth.
- Difficulty swallowing, chewing, tasting and speaking.
What are possible causes of dry mouth?
Why does your mouth become dry? There is no single answer to this. There can be several different reasons why your mouth feels dry. Find out below what the causes may be.
Medication and chemotherapy
By far the largest number of cases of dry mouth are caused by taking medication. This is what links to the fact that dry mouth is especially widespread among older people, because they often need medications.
However, younger people may also be troubled by dry mouth if they take medications. It applies especially to medication for anxiety and depression, high blood pressure, asthma and allergies.
If you are being treated for cancer and having chemotherapy, you are also more likely to have a dry mouth. The treatment affects production of saliva and reduces it.
Many pregnant women suffer from irritating dryness in the mouth while expecting a baby.
The dryness is most pronounced at night, and on waking up in the morning. Dry mouth in connection with pregnancy is due to the many hormonal changes going on in the body, which can affect secretion of saliva.
Going through the menopause may also include mouth dryness.
This is because during the menopause hormone levels swing up and down – and affect the salivary glands. It can cause long-term mouth dryness.
Stress, anxiety and nervousness
Stress, fear or nervousness can affect the nervous system, and particularly the regulation of how much saliva is secreted.
You may often find that your mouth feels dry as sandpaper if you are under stress over an assignment, or feel nervous in a particular situation.
When is a dry mouth a problem?
Apart from the obvious problems of difficulty in swallowing and the uncomfortable burning, stinging and dry sensation in the mouth, dryness may also have further consequences.
Saliva is important for the health of your mouth
A dry mouth is not just irritating – in the long term it can lead to health problems. Conditions in a dry mouth are better for bacterial growth, and that is why saliva is important for the health of your mouth.
On average, your salivary glands secrete between 0.5 and 1.5 litres of saliva every single day – and this helps to maintain a healthy environment in your mouth.
The functions of saliva are important in your mouth and for you:
- Saliva helps to remove remnants of food and neutralise acid from bacterial growth, and thus protects you from caries.
- Saliva protects mucous membranes and teeth from infections.
- Saliva lubricates the teeth and mucous membranes in the mouth, making it easier to chew, swallow and speak.
- Saliva gives some protection against acid in foods and drinks, which wear down your teeth.
- Saliva is beneficial for the sense of taste and the general experience of food.