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Why is your mouth dry?

If you have been experiencing dry mouth or have problems swallowing food then you may be suffering from dry mouth that’s called Xerostomia.

Usually, dry mouth is caused by the inability of salivary glands to make enough saliva resulting in the decrease of saliva levels in our mouth. Dry mouth can be a result of some problems which are affecting salivary glands directly or due to any side effects of medication.

Saliva assists in preventing tooth decay by neutralizing the acid produced in the mouth. It also prevents bacterial overgrowth, limiting them to a minimum quantity. Lack of saliva may affect your health adversely.

Dry mouth can be just a little problem or can expand to a serious health risk. In any case, steps must be taken to prevent dry mouth and to cure it.

What are the Symptoms of Dry Mouth?

There are many symptoms which predict you have a dry mouth, including:

-Your mouth or throat feels dry

-Your saliva seems thick and stringy

— Foul breath

-Chewing, speaking and swallowing feel difficult

-A transformed sense of taste 

-Difficulty wearing dentures

-Problems of frequent tooth decay

-Gum uneasiness and gum disease

What are the Causes of Dry Mouth?

There are various causes of a dry mouth. Some of them are listed below –

1) Medication – Loads of medicines, pills, and oral doses have dry mouth as their side effect. Depression drugs are most likely to cause this problem, as well as antihistamines, decongestants, muscle relaxants and pain medications.

2) Aging – Older people take many medications which may result in having a dry mouth. Also, they can have some medical conditions which may lead to dry mouth. Medication – Loads of medicines, pills, and oral doses have dry mouth as their side effect. Depression drugs are most likely to cause this problem, as well as antihistamines, decongestants, muscle relaxants and pain medications.

3) Nerve Damage – Any injury causing nerve damage in the neck area can affect the proper functioning of salivary glands causing dry mouth..

Why is Saliva so Important?

Lack of saliva can cause various problems to your health. They are discussed below.

As saliva neutralizes acid in teeth and limits bacterial growth, lack of saliva results in increased plaque and tooth decay.

It can lead to the development of sores in your mouth and fungal infection. Saliva keeps mouth bacteria free.

Dry mouth can result in sticking of lipstick on your teeth, sores and split skin at the corners of the mouth, and also cracked or parched lips.

There are problems in swallowing and chewing of food which results in less nutritional intake than our regular amount.

Dry mouth also results in having a coated tongue which leaves a gagging sensation in the mouth and makes it harder to chew or swallow food.

If you are facing any concerns with your mouth being too dry, contact your physician immediately.

Oral Cancer Screening

 

What Should You Look Out For?

Mouth cancer can occur anywhere in the mouth, be it the lips, tongue, throat, salivary glands, larynx and sinuses. It is important to detect oral cancer as the first signs and symptoms appear. 

What are the early signs that you should look out for?

Your dentist will look for any signs of cancer during regular checkup appointments and will provide the necessary attention required should any of the following occurs 

• Any areas of white and red  lesions in your mouth or lips

• Any swellings that make it uncomfortable for wearing dentures

• Feeling of a lump or object stuck in your throat

• Having loose teeth with no apparent dental cause

• Having any lingering sore throat or hoarseness

• Having trouble moving your tongue or jaw or having any problems speaking, chewing or even swallowing

• Any sores, lumps or thick patches found anywhere in or around your mouth or throat

Why Does oral cancer happen?

You may have had a question in your mind why does cancer even happen? Even though the exact cause of oral cancer is not certain, there are, however, certain factors which promote the risk of catching this terrible disease.

The suspected causes include the use of different carcinogenic substances. For instance, one of the main culprits is thought to be tobacco – be it cigarettes, pipes, cigars and smokeless tobacco. These are known to increase the risk of oral cancer. Consumption of alcohol is also known to increase the probability.

Apart from alcohol and tobacco, another two factors – age and the eating habits – are also known causes of oral cancer.

Most oral cancers are found to occur in people who are over the age of 40. Coupled with a diet that is less in fruits and green vegetables also makes it a free pass for the disease to contract. It also needs to keep in mind that excessive exposure to the sun rays also has a tendency to cause cancer on the lips.

It is only recently, that it has been found out that oral cancer is associated with the HPV 16, a kind of sexually transmitted disease.

Screening and treatment of oral cancer

An oral cancer screening is done at our office each routine check up. A routine check-up of your teeth and gums are recommended every six months. The dentist will also check the lips and face for any sign of the disease beyond your mouth. He/she also has the option of palpating the neck as well as the jaw area along with examining the top and the underside of the tongue.

Regular visits to your dentist are one of the surest ways to diagnose and identify oral cancers at an early stage. Keep an appointment with your dentist every six months, and get a check-up with teeth cleaning done. It will help you prevent serious health issues in the future. 

Dr.Justin

06 january 2021, 14:58
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