Dry Mouth: Symptoms and Treatment

Reduced saliva flow that results in a dry mouth is a common problem among older adults. It is caused by certain medical disorders and is often a side effect of medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, pain killers and diuretics.

Some symptoms you may experience if you have dry mouth are:

  • A constant sore throat
  • Burning sensation
  • Problems speaking
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Hoarseness
  • Dry nasal passages

Left untreated, dry mouth can damage your teeth. Without adequate saliva to lubricate your mouth, wash away food, and neutralize the acids produced by plaque, extensive decay can occur. Your dentist can recommend various methods to restore moisture. Sugar-free candy or gum stimulates saliva flow, and moisture can be replaced by using artificial saliva and oral rinses. Semiannual dental visits are essential in order to ensure the health of your mouth. Schedule your semiannual dentist appointment today using your True Dental Discount plan and save big while sustaining your oral health.

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Q: What is sialadenitis?

A: In short, sialadenitis is a disorder of the salivary gland. One of several related disorders, this condition is caused by a painful bacterial infection in a person’s salivary gland. Many times, this infection is caused by staphylococcus or anaerobic bacteria. According to researchers at Harvard Medical School, sialadenitis is most common in elderly adults and very young infants. Symptoms include a painful lump in the cheek or under the chin, or foul-tasting pus released into the mouth from the salivary duct. In severe cases, the person may experience flu-like symptoms, including a fever and chills. The most severe cases usually occur in elderly people who do not receive treatment for their symptoms.

Researchers suggest that several factors may increase a person’s risk of developing sialadenitis, including dehydration, malnutrition, chronic illness, and certain medications like antihistamines and diuretics. Infants who are born prematurely and people in professions like trumpet-playing and glassblowing may also be at increased risk. If you or someone in your family is faced with sialadenitis, it is important to seek the help of a health care professional. A doctor or dentist can gently examine your head and neck to check for any potential gland issues. Fortunately, sialadenitis can typically be cured with an antibiotic that causes symptoms to subside within a couple days. In more severe cases, surgery can be performed to drain the gland.

So remember: If you ever notice a lump or swelling in your neck, jaw, or mouth, contact a dentist on your True Dental Discounts, dental plan immediately – particularly if the lump is painful or makes it difficult to chew or swallow. Awareness of your body is the first step toward remaining healthy, so stay alert and seek help when needed.

The connection between periodontal disease and menopause

Menopause is a time of great change for women’s health and bodies. One area that is often overlooked, though, is the change women go through regarding their oral health at this time. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, women who are menopausal or post-menopausal may discover that their mouths have become uncomfortable. Many experience dry mouth, gum tissue pain, and a changed sense of taste, particularly in salty, peppery or sour flavors.

A small number of women also experience menopausal gingivostomatitis, which involves gums that look dry/shiny, bleed easily and are abnormally colored (very pale to very dark). The academy notes that estrogen supplements and Hormone Replacement Therapy may help protect women’s teeth and get rid of these symptoms. It’s important to talk to your doctor and dentist about the changes you notice in your mouth during menopause so you can start returning to normal as quickly as possible.