Dry mouth is also known as xerostomia. It is a condition that is a result of a decreased production of saliva in your mouth. This condition can be very uncomfortable and may lead to malnutrition because one finds it difficult to eat or even speak. It can also lead to extreme mouth and throat disorders that reduce the quality of life. This condition affects around ten percent of the population and is more prevalent in females. It also affects people under medication that might hamper the production of saliva.
What is the importance of saliva?
We take saliva for granted but it is extremely important to our body. Saliva is important because:
- It acts as a lubricating agent that protects your mouth from ulcers and sores that can be caused by friction.
- It is also a neutralizing agent for the acids in your mouth. This will help prevent tooth erosion that is caused by acids in the mouth
- It also helps in fighting bacteria in the mouth that might cause cavities
- It is one of the digestive fluids and helps in digestion and the process of demineralization
- It is also a solvent and helps you taste food
Managing dry mouth
It is important to note that dry mouth can be caused by several things. Some of the most common causes of dry mouth include stress and hormonal imbalance. There are medications that also have the ability to reduce the production of saliva in the mouth. It is important to note that because saliva acts like the cleanser in the mouth, when it is not present, tooth decay is likely to occur. There are many ways you can help prevent tooth decay as a result of dry mouth. Some of the ways include:
- You need to maintain good oral hygiene during this time. It is advisable to brush your teeth at least twice every day. If possible also brush after every meal and before you go to bed.
- It is also advisable to floss every day
- When brushing your teeth , you are advised to use a toothpaste that has fluoride
- You should also check up with your dentist regularly for him to recommend gels you can use to deal with the problem.
You can also minimize dry mouth by chewing sugar free gum and checking your diet to ensure that it is food that will increase saliva production.