Xerostomia – a symptom of a disease, occurring due to the reduced or entirely extinct function of secretion of salivary glands. Amount and composition of saliva in the mouth get reduced.
Main complaints when sick with xerostomia are as follows:
- Dryness of mouth;
- Itching in various areas of the mouth;
- Burning sensation in the mouth (as if it’s filled with sand);
- Increased thirstiness;
- Changed sense of taste;
- More difficult to swallow, chew (food particles “stick” to teeth);
- Unpleasant taste in the mouth and bad breath;
- Sensitive teeth;
- Often occurrence of caries;
- Presence of or exacerbation of gastroesophageal reflux;
- Difficult to talk or breathe through the mouth;
- The wrong fixation of removable dentures, wearing them is painful;
- A sense of general fatigue.
Due to these reasons, the patient’s life quality and adaptation becomes worse.
Oral dryness can be mild, moderate or severe. Symptoms of mild and moderate oral dryness are most felt at night and when experiencing stress. In the daytime, mouth dryness may get more exacerbated due to additional xerogenic factors (stress, medication, etc.). Every external factor in the presence of even slightest disorders of secretion of salivary glands heightens mouth dryness even more. Usually, it happens to patients with disorders of psycho-emotional state (depression, neurosis, schizophrenia). If the person wears removable dentures, it occurs in corners of the mouth.
During the examination, the dentist’s mirror sticks to the mucosa. Circular, neck and atypical caries, inherent to the masticatory edge, tubercles and flat surfaces.
The severity of xerostomia may vary from regularly encountered temporarily weakened secretion of saliva to long-term absence of saliva secretion. Usually, oral dryness is sensed when the amount of saliva secreted is two times less than usual, when any stimulus does not stimulate the formation of saliva.
However, most often xerostomia manifests as a side effect of the medication. M more than 400 often consumed medications may cause oral pain, and weaken the function of salivary, among such medications are:
- antihistamine medications,
- blood pressure lowering drugs,
- medications for anxiety treatment,
- appetite suppressants.
Most common systemic diseases, which provoke oral pain are:
- rheumatic diseases, for instance, Sjogren’s syndrome,
- endocrinal disorders, for example, diabetes mellitus,
- neurological illnesses, for instance, Parkinson’s disease,
- the weakened immune system, for instance, HIV/AIDS,
- if the person has cancer in mouth, head and neck areas when radiotherapy is applied,
- In cases of systemic lupus erythematosus.
Consumption of medication is the most common cause among aged people.
Oral dryness may occur due to infection getting into salivary gland, if the salivary gland is removed or if the nerve is damaged during surgery. Moreover, dryness may be caused by various vitamin deficiencies, anemia, psychological tension, viral infections, and hereditary factors.
Oral dryness control:
One of the simplest and cheapest treatment methods is sipping. There’s no need to drink much water at once because small amounts of water match the quantity of saliva secreted, which maintains moisture in the mouth of a healthy person. Small sips of water may be helpful when eating; they can make chewing easier, swallow food, especially dry one.
If the oral dryness is present, the person should not smoke, drink coffee, especially alcohol because they cause oral dryness.
- Mouth washing liquids and oral hygiene products containing alcohol should not be used. If the oral mucosa is dry, hard food may traumatize it; however, the chewable food should not be avoided.
- Chewing promotes secretion of saliva. It’s recommended to chew as much as possible between meals. Sugar-free chewing gum is recommended. Those with plates must chew soft or suck hard sugar-free candy. Sour food, for example, containing citric acid, promote secretion of saliva. It’s recommended to add lemon juice to water of freeze natural fruit juice and place frozen candy into the mouth when it gets dry. However, it shouldn’t be forgotten that sour products if consumed often, may cause acid erosions.
- It is advisable to avoid salty food because it will increase thirstiness.
- Yogurt improves the condition of oral mucosa if the person has xerostomia.
- If the mouth is very dry, saliva substitutes should be used.
- Particular attention should be given to oral hygiene – after each meal brush teeth with a fluoride-containing toothpaste and a brush and use dental floss at least once a day.
- If the mouth is dry for a long time, the possibility of candidiasis (fungal diseases of the oral mucosa) increases. Then it is advised to rinse mouth with nystatin, in more severe cases with miconazole and cleanse the dentures with these liquids.
- It‘s recommended to use calendula, myrrh (myrrh tincture), chamomile (liquid chamomile extract), sage (sage tincture), Australian tea tree, mint decoctions, and extracts or mouth rinsing liquids based on the said plants.