When you wake up in the morning, do you feel your mouth burning and dryness in your tongue?
Do you often feel an uncomfortable and abnormal dryness in your mouth when you speak or swallow food?
Do you find swallowing food difficult? When you speak, do you feel that you don’t have enough saliva?
Is your saliva lacking and thick?
If your answers are mostly affirmative, it´s possible that you suffer from xerostomia or “dry mouth”.
Xerostomia is also known as asialorrhea, hyposalivation, or most commonly as “dry mouth”.
It is important to note that xerostomia is NOT a disease in itself but a disorder or malfunction of the salivary glands.
Xerostomia is the feeling of dry mouth that a person perceives when he has a lack of saliva. In fact, the term xerostomia is used when the person has less than half the quantity of normal saliva at basal state and after stimulation of the salivary glands. This lack of saliva is caused by the disruption of normal salivary gland function and can be classified as total or partial and chronic or temporary.
This salivary gland malfunction may have multiple causes and can be a symptom of other diseases or caused by some drug treatments.
To solve the problem in salivary glands it is necessary to find and resolve -if it´s possible- the cause that gives rise to it.
Although having or not saliva may seem a minor problem, saliva plays an important role in oral health :
-On one hand, saliva moistens the mouth tissues facilitating speech, chewing, swallowing, etc.
-On the other hand, saliva has a function in oral hygiene by regulating the accumulation of bacteria and thus preventing tooth decay, gum disease or halitosis or bad breath.
Although xerostomia may not jeopardize life it may alter the quality of life. People with dry mouth -especially severe dryness- often suffer great discomfort in the oral cavity and depending on the degree of dryness they may have trouble talking, eating and even sleeping, apart from further deterioration of teeth.
As data of interest it should be pointed that xerostomia is often manifested in adulthood and affects twice as many women as men. According to data from Xeros Dentaid xerostomia affects 20% of people aged 18-35 years and 40 % of people over 55 years.
As a result of the increase in life expectancy of the population xerostomia is becoming more frequent, especially in developed countries. More and more people are suffering from xerostomia or dry mouth so it is important to become well-informed in order to mitigate the effects and prevent the consequences of this uncomfortable problem.
In future articles we will continue explaining the different types of xerostomia, diseases that may cause it, and products and tips to make your life more bearable if you suffer from xerostomia.