Xerostomia, also known as dry mouth is a medical disorder which is characterized by decreased or absence of saliva. Saliva is important for general well being as the components of saliva aid in digestion, helps to maintain the health of oral mucosa and it also prevents the development of tooth decay.
Multiple studies have stated that everyone must have had experienced when they are under stress, nervous, or upset. But dry mouth is not normal, means most often it is associated with some underlying problem. Under excessive stress, an individual is more likely to have dry mouth. Dry mouth is a sensation that there is no or less saliva left in the mouth. Dry mouth can be uncomfortable and can lead to some serious health problems. It can also be a sign of some serious health problem.
Symptoms of dry mouth
- Trouble swallowing or chewing
- Cracked lips
- Infection in the mouth
- Mouth sores
- Sticky feeling in the mouth
Dry mouth increases the chance of developing dental decay and other infections in the mouth. Many times, dry mouth is not a symptom of some undying disorder, but it is caused by certain medications. There are some medicines that can cause dry mouth.
Possible disorders causing dry mouth
1. Diabetes mellitus
Studies have suggested that people who have high blood sugar level or are diabetic are at high risk of suffering from oral problems, including dry mouth. Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder which affects millions of people across the world. It is characterized by hyperglycemia or high sugar level in the blood.
Diabetes mellitus is a serious disorder which is characterized by a wide range of symptoms and if it is left untreated or left uncontrolled, it could lead to the development of some serious complications. Dry mouth is one of the common symptom or problem that is associated with diabetes mellitus. Other symptoms that are accompanied by high glucose level in the blood include frequent urination, increased thirst, blurred vision, and slow healing of wounds.
It is strongly believed that there is a strong relationship between depression and the occurrence of dry mouth. Many researchers have suggested that when an individual is under stress or is upset, he or she is more likely to suffer from dry mouth. Depression is considered to be a serious mental health condition which requires love and care from their family and friends.
Although depression is characterized by sadness, it is more than just being sad. There is a difference between being sad and being depressed. The sadness in a depressed person is accompanied by many other symptoms such as lack of interest, anxiety, changes in appetite, sleep disorders, and many more symptoms that have a significant impact on the quality of life. Anxiety and other symptoms that are associated with dry mouth decreases the flow of saliva in the mouth and causes dry mouth.
Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure is another medical condition that can lead to the occurrence of dry mouth. Hypertension is a medical condition in which the force of blood pushing against blood vessel walls in the arteries is higher than normal. Generally, hypertension does not show any noticeable symptom, until it progresses and becomes severe.
There are various mechanisms that can state the relationship between hypertension and dry mouth. One of the most important mechanism is medicines. There are multiple medicines that are known to cause the salivary glands to make less saliva. Similarly, the medicines of high blood pressure are few of such medicines that causes a decrease in the saliva. Dry mouth is one of the most common side effects of many medicines and increases the risk of oral problems.
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4. Sjogren’s syndrome
Sjogren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disorder which is characterized by destruction and dysfunction of exocrine glands that are associated with lymphocytic infiltrates and immunological hyperactivity. Sjogren’s syndrome is a disorder which occurs when the immune system attacks the healthy cells in the body and fails to act as a defense system.
Sjogren’s syndrome is associated with a wide range of symptoms, but dry mouth and dry eyes are the most common symptom of this disease. This is because, in this disease, the mucous membrane and moisture secreting glands are affected. Some other symptoms may include, difficulty in swallowing, irritation, and swelling of the glands, around the face and neck. Dryness in other areas of the body can also occur.
Anemia is one of the blood disorder which occurs when the body does not have enough red blood cells. Red blood cells are one of the three main types of blood cells and they contain hemoglobin, which is a protein that carries oxygen throughout the body. When the body lacks red blood cells, it fails to provide an adequate amount of oxygen to the body and hence, it causes fatigue and other symptoms of anemia.
Dry mouth is one of the common symptoms which occur when the body does not have enough red blood cells. Anemia can be acquired or inherited. Acquired anemia means an individual is not born with it and has developed it. Whereas, inherited anemia means an individual has received this problem through their parents.