Understanding and Treating Xerostomia: Chronic Dry Mouth
Xerostomia, or chronic dry mouth, is a condition in which the mouth is excessively dry, most often due to the decreased production of saliva. Effects of xerostomia range from mere annoyance to advanced periodontal disease and an inability to enjoy food. At the Dallas, TX dental office of Dr. Robert B. Mitchell, patients suffering from dry mouth are invited to explore their treatment options with our highly trained oral healthcare team.
Causes & Symptoms of Xerostomia
Xerostomia is characterized by the partial or complete lack of saliva in the mouth, resulting in a variety of unpleasant and even damaging symptoms. The most common symptoms associated with xerostomia include:
- Bad breath
- Irritation of the gums and/or palate
- Persistent dryness in mouth and throat
- Difficulty speaking, swallowing, and chewing
- Problems with dentures
- Gum disease and/or more frequent cavities
Xerostomia occurs when the salivary glands fail to produce sufficient saliva in the oral cavity. There are a number of known causes of dry mouth, including certain medications and medical conditions like Parkinson’s and Sjorgren’s disease. Age is another factor linked to dry mouth; approximately 20 percent of elderly men and women suffer from the condition. Other causes include damage to the salivary glands themselves and treatments prescribed for cancer, including chemotherapy. The use of tobacco and methamphetamines is known to exacerbate the symptoms of xerostomia.
Why is Dry Mouth a Problem?
When left untreated, dry mouth can lead to numerous oral health problems and complications that affect the rest of the body as well. Without enough saliva to eat properly, some patients begin to suffer from malnutrition and other deficiencies. Other complications associated with xerostomia include:
- Sores in the mouth
- Tongue coated in plaque
- Cracked lips
- Fungal infections
- Increased incidence of tooth decay and periodontal disease
Fortunately, all of these conditions can be avoided with proper xerostomia management. Following your diagnosis, Dr. Mitchell will explain the various treatment options available to you.
Helping Patients with Dry Mouth
No case of xerostomia is the same as the next, so Dr. Mitchell always takes the time to formulate a customized treatment plan based upon your unique symptoms and conditions. If medication is the cause of your chronic dry mouth, your primary physician may be able to help with an alternative that doesn’t result in decreased salivation. Other treatments include saliva substitutes, increased water intake, Biotene oral rinse, and products containing xylitol. Dr. Mitchell and our team will work with you to determine the best solution for you.
Schedule Your Consultation Today
If you are suffering from chronic dry mouth and the undesirable symptoms that accompany it, contact our office today to learn more about our selection of treatment options. Dr. Mitchell and his team genuinely look forward to helping you overcome your xerostomia issues so that you can enjoy improved oral health and better quality of life overall. Our state-of-the-art dental office in Dallas, TX proudly serves families from throughout the DFW Metroplex, including communities in North Dallas, Addison, Carrollton, Richardson, Plano, Garland, and beyond.