Nearly everyone has felt the discomfort of having a dry mouth at some point, but for most people, it’s only temporary. People who can fix the problem with a simple drink of water might not know that, for individuals with chronic dry mouth, also called xerostomia, the issue doesn’t go away so easily.
As such, not many people are familiar with this “invisible” oral health problem, and they might not fully understand the challenges faced by those dealing with it. Whether you’re someone who has this condition, or you’re simply interested in understanding the experiences of those who do, it’s important to get to know what chronic dry mouth feels like, what causes it, and how to treat it.
What Does Dry Mouth Feel Like?
If you’re not sure whether you have dry mouth, (xerostomia), it’s helpful to learn the most common signs. The main symptom is the uncomfortable feeling that your mouth is very dry during most of the day. Even if you drink water, the dry feeling comes back quickly, almost like having cotton in your mouth, hence the expression cottonmouth. This can even cause a painful burning sensation in your mouth and sores on your tongue.
Dry mouth is often more noticeable at night, sometimes waking you up in the middle of the night to drink water to relieve the discomfort. In some cases, it’s so extreme that it might make you feel like you’re choking, making you feel scared that you need water right away to make it through the night.
The discomfort caused by extreme dryness in your mouth can affect other aspects of your life too. When you don’t produce enough saliva, talking and eating can become difficult. Not having enough saliva also causes other problems in your mouth. Saliva helps clean out food debris and fights mouth bacteria. Without enough saliva, you increase your chances of developing cavities and gum disease, which can lead to more pain and bad breath.
It’s no surprise that the physical effects of dry mouth can influence how you feel about yourself and your life. If you’re worried about your breath or have trouble speaking due to extreme dryness in your mouth, it can be embarrassing to talk to others. It’s not unusual for many people with dry mouth to feel anxious or depressed. This lack of self esteem can make things worse because stress often further reduces saliva production. Of course, that’s just one possible cause of dry mouth; lots of health issues can affect the salivary glands.
What Causes Dry Mouth?
If your mouth often feels dry, it’s likely that your salivary glands aren’t making enough saliva. While the causes may vary, usually, it’s due to a health problem or a side effect of medication(s) you’re taking.
Some of the most common health conditions that negatively affect the salivary glands leading to dry mouth include; diabetes, nerve damage, Sjogren’s disease, and sleep apnea. Unfortunately, some of the life style choices we make can also cause dry mouth such as drinking alcohol, smoking, and using recreational drugs. If a health condition, medication or lifestyle choices haven’t caused your dry mouth, lower saliva production can also be a product of simply getting older.
As mentioned, the very medications prescribed to you by your physician for other issues can cause dry mouth. Dry mouth is a common side effect of hundreds of medications. According to the Mayo Clinic, antidepressants, antihistamines, muscle relaxants, pain relievers, and decongestants, among others all have dry mouth as a side effect. Cancer treatment is also known for causing long-lasting dry mouth. Radiation can temporarily, and sometimes even permanently, harm the salivary glands as chemotherapy can lessen the amount of saliva in your mouth.
In many cases, changes in saliva production is temporary and will get better when you stop taking the medication or treat the underlying health issue. But, that’s not much help if you have to keep taking your medication indefinitely or if there’s no treatment available for your health problem. Whether the impact on your salivary glands is a moment in time or here to stay, there are effective ways to treat your dry mouth.
What Are the Remedies for Dry Mouth?
If you’re dealing with dry mouth because of a side effect of medication you’re taking or a health problem, you might not want another pill to swallow. Fortunately, there are natural remedies to try.
One easy way to get relief is to keep water with you at all times and to eat more foods with a high water content. Soups, smoothies, and many fruits and vegetables, like cucumbers, melons, berries, celery, and bell peppers all help. Chewing sugar-free gum or hard candies can also help your saliva flow better throughout the day.
Simple lifestyle habits can also help. Start by using a toothbrush with soft bristles to brush your teeth at least twice a day. Remember to floss every day and use mouthwash without alcohol, as mouthwash with alcohol can make your mouth even drier. It’s also helpful to use a humidifier in your room while you sleep to add moisture to the air. Breathing through your nose instead of your mouth can also provide some relief from chronic dry mouth.
As you work on adding good habits to your routine, there are also some habits to cut back on or eliminate altogether. Monitor caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco, as these all contribute to or exacerbate dry mouth symptoms. The same goes for things like decongestants, antihistamines, and foods that are spicy, salty, or acidic.
If these natural remedies don’t work for you, it’s time to talk to your doctor or dentist about your other choices. You may be a good candidate for a prescription strength spray. Aquoral Oral Protective Spray contains a new technology that both lubricates the mouth and creates a protective layer that locks in the moisture. With relief up to six hours, Aquoral conveniently comes with two spray bottles for a month’s supply. Keep one with you in your purse or pocket for use throughout the day, and keep the other bedside to eliminate those restless nights.
A clinical study found that 92% of patients who tried Aquoral saw a clear improvement in dry mouth symptoms, including Julia Taylor, who stated, “This isn’t a game changer; this is life changing.” So, if you’re tired of suffering from dry mouth and want to learn more about your options for relief, download the prescription form to talk to your doctor or dentist today or connect with our readily available telehealth resource at AquoralLive about effective solutions that may include Aquoral.