Having a dry mouth (medically referred to as xerostomia) can be irritating. It makes it difficult to eat or talk and can even lead to nausea.
One of the biggest problems with having a dry mouth is the toll it can take on your oral health. Dry mouth can promote gum disease and tooth decay.
If you are always dealing with this issue, then you need to look into the cause of the problem. Here I will discuss several causes for dry mouth, which include five natural strategies that can help reverse the condition.
You could be dehydrated
One potential cause is simply that you are dehydrated. You should try to drink about eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day. Staying hydrated is not only good for your oral health but also for your overall physical health, says Dr. Russell of Aesthetic Family Dentistry in Phoenix.
Smoking dries your mouth out
Smoking tobacco can dry out your mouth. When you smoke tobacco, you limit the amount of saliva that your mouth makes and can aggravate the issue.
Certain medications can cause it
There are certain medications that can lead to this condition. Medications that are used to treat anxiety, depression, colds, acne, diarrhea and a wide variety of other illnesses often have the potential to cause it. This is a relatively common side effect of medications.
This was proven out in a study from Finland’s University of Oulu studied 152 seniors as part of the Oral Health GeMS study. They found that anti-anxiety drugs and sedatives more than doubled the risk of dry mouth among the subjects.
If you suspect that a medication is the cause of your condition, then talking to your doctor about replacing your prescription with a new medication may help you deal with your dry mouth.
Infections and diseases could be the culprit
When you have an infection or suffer from a particular disease, you may experience a dry mouth. This includes Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, strokes, cystic fibrosis, anemia, and other diseases.
Nerve damage may be responsible
Nerve damage can also cause your mouth to dry out. If you have suffered nerve damage after an injury or surgery, then you may have difficulty producing saliva in your mouth.
Breathing with your mouth open
Breathing with your mouth open can also dry your mouth out. Your body is designed to inhale oxygen through your nose, where you can naturally filter the air. When you breathe your nose, you are more likely to experience a dry mouth.
Side effects of medical treatments can cause this condition
Certain medical treatments can lead to a parched mouth. Patients that have undergone chemotherapy treatments or other forms of radiation treatment may end up experiencing a dry mouth.
These are some of the most common causes of dry mouth. If you suspect that any of these issues are the cause of your dry mouth, then try to make changes to reverse the effects. Dry mouth can prevent your mouth from producing saliva. Saliva is needed to fight bacteria and keep your gums and teeth healthy.
If you continue to experience it, then you schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. They may be able to help you determine the cause and come up with a suitable solution.
Herbs for dry mouth
Several herbs have been known to increase salivation. These include ginger (Zingiber officinale), licorice (Glycyrrhiza spp.), chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla or Chamaemelum nobile) and others.
A 2017 study studied 20 adult patients with dry mouth and type II diabetes. The researchers tested a ginger spray on the patients, and found the spray rapidly increased the patients’ saliva production.
Chewing on fresh ginger can also increase salivation.
Another 2017 study tested hollyhocks (Alcea digitata) and common mallow (Malus sylvestris) with cancer patients that had dry mouth as a result of their radiation treatment. The researchers found the herbal combination significantly increased salivation and reduced dry mouth among the patients. They found the treatment also increased quality of life scores among the patients.
Tiisanoja A, Syrjälä AM, Komulainen K, Lampela P, Hartikainen S, Taipale H, Knuuttila M, Ylöstalo P. Anticholinergic burden and dry mouth among Finnish, community-dwelling older adults. Gerodontology. 2017 Sep 21. doi: 10.1111/ger.12304.
Mardani H, Ghannadi A, Rashnavadi B, Kamali R. The Effect of ginger herbal spray on reducing xerostomia in patients with type II diabetes. Avicenna J Phytomed. 2017 Jul-Aug;7(4):308-316.
Heydarirad G, Rezaeizadeh H, Choopani R, Mosavat SH, Ameri A. Efficacy of a traditional Persian medicine preparation for radiation-induced xerostomia: a randomized, open-label, active-controlled trial. J Integr Med. 2017 May;15(3):201-208. doi: 10.1016/S2095-4964(17)60333-9.
Dr. Roderick of Aesthetic Family Dentistry in Phoenix, AZ is a graduate from Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine with a Doctorate of Dental Medicine, as well as a graduate of the Pacific Aesthetic Continuum.
He has invested over 2,000 hours to date in quality continuing education, concentrating on aesthetics, cosmetic dentistry, restorative dental implants, periodontal (gum) therapy and oral care as it relates to cardiac and systemic diseases. He has earned his Fellowship in Academy of General Dentistry accreditation, and he is on the track to earning his Mastership.