Today, as many as 4 million Americans are living with dry mouth. Dry mouth—also called Xerostomia results from an inadequate flow of saliva. It is not a disease, but can be a symptom of a medical disorder or a side effect of certain medications, such as antihistamines, decongestants, pain killers, diuretics and many others.
Some of the common problems associated with dry mouth include a constant sore throat, burning sensation, trouble speaking, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness or dry nasal passages. In some cases, dry mouth can be an indicator of Sjögren’s syndrome. Sjögren’s syndrome is a chronic autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own moisture-producing glands, the tear-secreting and salivary glands as well as other organs.
Saliva is the body’s primary defense against tooth decay and maintains the health of the soft and hard tissues in the mouth. Saliva washes away food and other debris, neutralizes acids produced by bacteria, and provides disease-fighting substances throughout the mouth, offering first-line protection. Without saliva, extensive tooth decay can also occur. Dr. Jessica and Dr. Stevenson are happy to recommend various methods to help you if you are experiencing dry mouth.
To learn more you can visit the Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation.