Dry mouth is a syndrome that is called xerostomia by professionals and is defined as a series of discomforts that occur within the oral cavity as a result of the lack of saliva production.
Almost the entire population has presented dry mouth at some point in their life, the presence of stress, nerves or fear can trigger low saliva production If this occurs constantly, the patient may develop problems, giving rise to oral pathologies or we can also perceive it as the sign of the presence of a systematic disease or the presence of a syndrome, xerostomia has a prevalence of close 45% in people over 55 years of age.
We must emphasize that this xerostomia syndrome it is not an oral disease but a clinical situation that causes oral discomfort that normally do not become severe in nature, this clinical state is reached for different reasons that we will explain later.
To understand this complex situation, we are going to consider, according to the level of glandular activity, two types of xerostomia:
- Exists reversible type xerostomia, which is caused by an altered gandula activity but where salivary production can be regulated or stimulated is the reversible type because it is the cause of some treatment such as chemotherapy or the use of mediation or the habit of tobacco.
- Irreversible xerostomia It occurs when the problem of glandular activity is irreparable, it is typical of patients with the presence of sjörgen syndrome or patients suffering from head and neck cancer who are undergoing radiation treatment.
- Burning sensation in the mouth.
- Difficulty when it comes to the functions of: chewing, swallowing and speaking.
- Dryness of the cavity itself and of the throat.
- Dry tongue
- Cut lips.
- Risk of suffering from cavities and other pathologies.
There are several tests that confirm the presence of this syndrome and that are used to measure salivary flow such as sialometry, salivary gland biopsy, magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography. They are tests that are used to obtain the diagnosis of the pathologies of the salivary glands helping the intra and extrapolar clinical examination that must be carried out.
Main causes of having a dry mouth
- supply of medications that lead to a decrease in salivary secretion, the most used that cause this fact are: antidepressants, anxiolytics and antihypertensives.
- patients who are receiving either chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
- systemic diseases: diabetes, HIV
- age and hormonal changes in women.
Treatment to solve Xerosotomy
The selected treatment is based on the cause that is causing the dry mouth.
- if it is a drug, you can find an alternative or change the dose.
- some medicine may be given to help the glands.
What can the patient do himself
- Sip the water or drink sugar-free beverages often, especially during meals, to chew and swallow better.
- Avoid all kinds of caffeinated beverages, such as coffee, tea, Coca-Cola.
- Chewing gum or ingesting sugar-free candies with xylitol are helpful in stimulating the flow of saliva.
- Avoid the habit of tobacco and alcohol.
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