Dry mouth is because you have too little saliva in your mouth or that the texture of the saliva has changed. The saliva is important for you to be able to chew and swallow without problems. It also protects teeth.
There are studies that show that dry mouth lowers the quality of life of those who have it. But dry mouth can nevertheless be difficult to detect yourself, especially if it happens slowly.
Symptoms of dry mouth
These are the most common symptoms of dry mouth:
- That it is difficult to eat.
- That it can be difficult to talk.
- That you have sleep disorders.
- That dental health is affected.
You get lighter teeth and trouble the mucous membranes with wounds and infections. If you have a removable prosthesis it can be more difficult to use it.
When should I seek care?
Since your teeth are damaged by dry mouth, it is especially important that you regularly check your teeth with your dentist or dental hygienist. Then you get advice and preventative care.
If you do not know why you are dry in the mouth and you are taking one or more medicines, you should consult your doctor. Often, oral dryness is a side effect of drugs, including those used for mental disorders.
Together, you and the doctor will weigh the trouble with dry mouth against what the drug can do. Sometimes you may need to change the dose. Other times, you may be able to take a similar drug, which hopefully causes less trouble with dry mouth.
Dry mouth can have many causes
You become dry in the mouth if you have too little saliva or if the texture of the saliva has changed. The mouth contains both large salivary glands and a large number of small glands. The large salivary glands form saliva as you eat and help digest the food. Between meals they are dormant. The small glands, on the other hand, form saliva all the time. The saliva is viscous and should protect and lubricate the oral cavity.
It seems that dry mouth is in many cases due to a lack of viscous saliva.
Stress can reduce the amount of saliva in the mouth. This is because nerve impulses are blocked so that they cannot stimulate salivary glands to form saliva.
Medicines common cause of dry mouth
There are many drugs that reduce the amount of saliva in the mouth. Among other things, medicines for mental illness can have this side effect. Taking several different medicines at the same time increases the risk of dry mouth. Dry mouth is common in older people who use many medications.
There may also be other reasons why you may have problems. Here are some other causes of dry mouth:
- That you are dehydrated, for example in the case of fever.
- Radiation therapy for head and neck tumors.
- A disease, for example, Sjögren’s syndrome.
Mouth dryness degrades oral health
Too little saliva in the mouth gives worse protection against holes in the teeth, so-called caries. In a dry mouth also increases the risk of inflammation of the gums or oral mucosa. Many who have dry mouth also find it difficult to swallow and speak. Eating can be difficult and the breath can smell. In addition, the lack of saliva can make you more difficult to taste.
In the dental insurance, there is a special dental allowance, STB, if your salivary glands are damaged after radiation treatment, or if you have been diagnosed with Sjögren’s syndrome.
What can I do for myself?
It is important to stimulate salivation in the mouth. This can be done in different ways:
- At pharmacies, there are suction or throat tablets, chewing gum, oral spray, and gel. There are also so-called saliva substitutes or artificial saliva. You can ask the pharmacy staff.
- Sugar-free chewing gum is good for increasing the amount of saliva in the mouth. To give your teeth extra protection, you can use a chewing gum that contains fluoride.
- Rinse your mouth with water is a simple way to temporarily relieve dry mouth. For the sake of teeth, it is good to avoid drinks such as soft drinks, juices, and juices. Both the sugar and the acid in such drinks can cause tooth damage.
- It is good to chew the food properly. Choose foods with chewing resistance, such as raw carrots. It stimulates salivation.
It is especially important to go to a dentist or dental hygienist regularly for dry mouth as a lack of saliva impairs dental health. Dental care can also perform a test that measures salivary flow in the mouth.
Important with the investigation under certain conditions
If the salivary glands are damaged due to radiotherapy or if you have Sjögren’s syndrome you usually have a generally reduced salivary flow. Then it is important to do an examination at a dentist, among other things in order to be able to get financial dental support.
Treatment of dry mouth
There is no direct treatment of dry mouth. The treatment is aimed at relieving the symptoms and preventing the damage that dry mouth can cause.
Both your doctor, dentist, and dental hygienist can print prescriptions for preparations that stimulate the salivary secretion and which are included in the high-cost protection for medicines. The pharmacy can advise on prescription-free products that both stimulate and replace saliva. Some products contain fluorine to protect against caries.
Grants for preventive dental care
If you are very dry in the mouth due to any illness or treatment, you may be entitled to a special dental allowance, STB. The special dental allowance can be used for preventive dental care and is SEK 600 per six months. You can ask your doctor or dentist for more information.
Your consent is important
Once you have received information about what options and options for the care you have, you can give your consent, or in some other way express a yes. This also applies to you who are not of legal age.