Dry Mouth – A Common Condition In Older People!

Dry mouth is also called as xerostomia. It is the condition of not having enough saliva to keep the mouth wet.

Dry mouth can happen to any one at any time. When you feel stressed or nervous, you will experience this condition.

Dry mouth makes eating, chewing, talking and swallowing very difficult.

There is also an increased risk of tooth decay with dry mouth because saliva helps to keep harmful germs away that cause cavities and other oral infections.

The main causes of dry mouth or thick saliva include: certain types of chemotherapy, radiation therapy to the neck and head areas and some types of medicines. The producing saliva can become irritated and produce less saliva or sometimes your saliva can become very thick.

Dry can be mild or severe and it can be worse when you chew, smoke, or drink alcoholic beverages. So, to avoid this condition, drink lots of fluids during the day and consume moist foods.

Dry mouth in older people:

This condition is most common among young adults. As the age increases, the salivary glands secrete less saliva. Dryness and your sensitivity to dryness can also change.

Receptors which cause dryness and which lie in your brain can become less responsive to your body’s needs for fluids. Due to this, older people are at high risk of dehydration. The main causes of dry mouth include:

  • Antidepressants
  • Antihistamines
  • Drugs used for urinary incontinence
  • Medications for high blood pressure

So, before taking any medications talk to your doctor whether medications cause your mouth dryness. An autoimmune disorder like Sjogren’s syndrome can also cause dry mouth.

How to get relief from dry mouth?

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Consume soft and moist foods that are cool or at room temperature
  • Chew sugarless gums
  • Avoid alcohol and tobacco
  • Keep your mouth clean
  • Avoid commercial mouth washes, acidic and alcoholic beverages
  • Use saliva substitutes if your salivary glands are damaged by any therapy or they have been removed during any surgery

So, to get relief from dry mouth, you need to eat the foods that are high in proteins, fruits and vegetables, breads, cereals, pasta and rice.