Dry Mouth: Causes and Treatment
Corpus Christi dentists Charles A. Robertson and Nicholas Perry Orchard have treated many patients dealing with chronic dry mouth. We understand that this condition can be caused by several factors. Finding the most effective treatment option depends largely on identifying the right cause. General dentistry can be used to identify the root cause of dry mouth, and to employ the right treatments to fight dry mouth and restore teeth to a healthy state.
Dry Mouth Caused by Medication
One common cause for the sudden onset of chronic dry mouth is the body’s reaction to medication. From prescription drugs to over-the-counter pharmaceuticals, many otherwise extremely useful medications list dry mouth as a potential side effect. This is common among drugs used to treat depression and anxiety, though it also occurs frequently in medications used to treat allergies, asthma, and hypertension.
Dry Mouth Caused by Cancer Treatment
Cancer treatment can also cause dry mouth. Chemotherapy can alter the body’s chemistry and contribute to dry mouth. Radiation treatment, especially when performed around a patient’s head or neck, can cause damage to nerves or salivary glands, leading to dry mouth. In some cases this side effect is only temporary and subsides as soon as cancer treatment stops. In other cases, the dry mouth can be longer lasting or permanent.
Dry Mouth Caused by Illness
While dry mouth is often linked to the treatment for an illness, in some cases it can be linked to the illness itself. Dry mouth is a common side effect of immune diseases like HIV/AIDS and Sjogren's syndrome.
Dry Mouth Caused by Tobacco or Drugs
Whether a patient is a smoker or a chewer, tobacco use is a common cause of dry mouth. More dangerous than tobacco, for a variety of reasons, is the use of illicit drugs, especially methamphetamines. Many people today are familiar with the term “meth mouth.” This can develop from prolonged methamphetamine use and chronic dry mouth.
Treatments for Dry Mouth
If a patient’s chronic dry mouth is caused by medication, patients and their primary care physicians may want to try a new medication that does not cause dry mouth. If the condition is a result of drug or tobacco use, quitting can be an important first step in the treatment process. Other treatments for chronic dry mouth include the use of a moisturizing mouthwash, saliva substitute, or saliva-stimulating medication. If dental damage has already developed due to dry mouth, restorative dentistry techniques may be performed. If the teeth have suffered decay due to chronic dry mouth, we can place a filling, inlay, onlay, or crown. If you have developed gum disease as a result of dry mouth, we can perform root planing and scaling treatment to improve the overall health of your smile.
Learn More about Dry Mouth Causes and Treatment
If you are suffering from chronic dry mouth, don’t hesitate to seek help. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment and learn more about your dry mouth treatment options, which can help you achieve a healthier smile.