Xerostomia is not a disease but rather a name given to a condition of dry mouth. This is also known as cotton mouth or hypo salivation. It is an insufficient production of saliva. There are many causes and the trick is finding the proper treatment.
Signs that you may have Xerostomia can include thick and stringy saliva, cracked lips and open sores in corners of mouth, and women have trouble with lipstick sticking to their teeth. Reports of having a sore throat and trouble talking or swallowing has also been related to this condition. Eating can be painful and halitosis or bad breath can often times occur.
Saliva helps to prevent tooth decay in the mouth by limiting bacterial growth and washing away food particles. Having hypo salivation can raise the risk of getting a severe gum infection. It can also alter the way food tastes and makes eating a difficult task as saliva normally aids in the breakdown of food.
A majority of elderly people experience cotton mouth at one time or another. Usually it stems from medication they are taking. This is not a normal sign of aging. It has been proven that hypo salivation is independent of age, sex, or race. Dehydration and excessive open mouth breathing can cause the mouth to dry out very fast. Try to drink as much water as possible when outdoors and breathe through your nose as much as possible.
Use of recreational drugs can cause dry mouth. The term meth mouth was derived from amphetamines having this affect. Cannabis, heroin, cigarettes and alcoholic beverages can do the same because they dehydrate your system.
A number of medical treatments and prescription medications have been known to be the cause of dry mouth in many patients. Anti-depressants, anti-histamines, chemo therapy, and radiation therapy can be very hard on your system and are other causes. Diseases like anxiety and any trauma to your salivary glands would of course decrease the production of saliva needed to protect your mouth.
Treatments vary depending on what is causing the case of cotton mouth. And that is the key. Once the cause is found the treatment can be fairly simple. Once found it is recommended that use is either stopped or decreased dramatically. If you are prone to dry mouth you should avoid decongestants and antihistamines. Always pay careful attention to your oral hygiene to avoid gum infection. Sipping non-carbonated, sugarless drinks at frequent intervals can sometimes help to keep mouth moist. Chewing gum that contains xylitol, which is a natural sugar substitute, and not sugar may also be beneficial. Drinking water has been said to not help very much and can sometimes even increase discomfort for some people. Certain medications can be prescribed by your doctor that works by stimulating the body to produce large amounts of saliva. An over the counter remedy is to sip artificial saliva which can be found at any drug store.
Though Xerostomia is not a disease, it can still be serious if it goes untreated. It is good to know that there is usually a fairly quick fix for it. Always pay attention to what your body tells you and try to fix it as soon as possible so other problems do not arise. Also following Parsons Diet can aid in the cure of this abnormality.