Dry mouth is a common problem that many people have and it usually is completely harmless. However, if this problem lasts for a while, it may be one of the symptoms of diabetes and joint problems.
If you are dehydrated or nervous, dry mouth is normal. However, constant dryness in the mouth, or xerostomia in medical terminology, may indicate a serious health problem that affects nearly every fifth person.
Here are some of the most common reasons why your mouth could be dry:
- Because of the hormones
- One of the most common reasons in women is surely the menopause, because hormonal imbalance causes drying of the mucous membranes in the body
- When there is a problem in the nose
- Constant mouth breathing may be due to nasal congestion due to colds and allergies to pollen
However, the cause may be narrowed or blocked nasal passages, an abnormal bite (causing the mouth not to be fully closed at night, which leads to mouth breathing) or abnormally large tonsils.
They operate on the principle of narrowing the blood vessels in the mucous membrane and thus reducing inflammation and facilitating the breathing. An indirect consequence of this is that the nasal cavity takes less fluid, which means that leads to “dry” nose. Whether they are used in the short term, these medicines, can bring relief, but long-term use can cause constant dryness of the nose and the mouth.
Mouthwashes that contain alcohol have the ability to kill the bacteria in the mouth, but can also cause dryness, because the alcohol dries and irritates the mucous membranes. Saliva protects against cavities and gum disease, therefore dry mouth brings an increased risk for both problems. Therefore, select mouthwashes that do not contain alcohol.
Dryness of the mouth is one of the most common side effects of heartburn, or gastroesophageal reflux. When stomach acid travels from the esophagus into the throat, it can cause irritation and inflammation that will dry your throat and mouth.
Too much coffee
Excessive intake of beverages that contain caffeine can lead to dehydration. Caffeine is a mild diuretic and encourages more frequent urination, and tannins, naturally present in coffee and some types of tea, can cause dryness of your mouth.
Constantly elevated blood sugar levels due to untreated diabetes can cause dry mouth. When the blood glucose concentration is increased, the kidneys lose their ability to reabsorb the fluid and is excreted in the form of urine which eventually leads to dehydration of the body. In addition you must know that medications for diabetes can also cause dry mouth.
Diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus or vasculitis may cause secondary Sjögren’s syndrome – a disease in which the immune system attacks the lacrimal gland and salivary glands, and thus causes dry eyes and mouth.
Two of the three pairs of salivary glands stimulate the personal nerves that pass through the temporal bone on the side of the skull. A damage of this bone (in a car accident or by falling off a bike) can damage this personal nerve, and thereby causing dry mouth.
Xerostomia is a side effect in more than 400 different medicines, prescribed or non-prescribed and is also caused by chemotherapy and radiation.