Relief for dry mouth

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Monday, April 14, 2014

DEAR Dr. Fritz,

CALL me Maybe. My problem is my dry mouth. I don’t like this. I often hear that my breath doesn’t smell good. What are the causes of this problem? Please help me.

Thanks and God speed!


Dear Maybe,

A dry mouth can certainly put you in a bad light giving you persistent bad breath. There are a lot of reasons why you are getting this.

1. Medicines

There are more than 400 types of medications which can give you dry mouth. These include over-the-counter drugs for allergies and cold symptoms, and many prescription drugs for high blood pressure, overactive bladder, and mental health problems. Radiation for certain cancers which can damage the salivary glands can also give you this problem. Chemotherapy can also dry your mouth.

You don’t have to stop your medicines. You should talk to your doctor for your concerns.

2. Nerve Damage

A dry mouth can be due to nerve damage from a head or neck injury where transmission of the messages between the brain and the salivary gland can no longer work.

3. Medical Problems

This includes Sjögren's syndrome – which is an autoimmune disorder in which white blood cells called lymphocytes attack the body's tear and salivary glands leading to dry eyes and dry mouth. You can also see dry mouth problems in patients with diabetes and HIV/AIDS.

If you are also smoking, stop it. Smoking may not cause dry mouth but it can make your condition worse. Moreover, alcohol and caffeinated drinks can also dry you up.

Now, here’s what you can do about it.
You should see your doctor or dentist.

Your condition might point out some medical problems which need help like diabetes or Sjogren’s syndrome. Of course, your physician can certainly help you out.

Take care of your teeth.

If you lack saliva, then, this could damage your teeth. So, see your dentist regularly. Aside from that, be sure to brush and floss your teeth everyday. If you can’t brush after eating, be sure to rinse your mouth. Drink water always and try using alcohol-free mouthwash or dental products.

Stimulate your Saliva
Do this by sucking on sugar-free candy or chewing sugar-free gum.
Sip water frequently
This will help to keep your mouth moist.
Shy away from caffeinated drinks
They can dry you up and make your situation worse.
Sleep in a room with humidifier
This would help you decrease your dry mouth symptoms.
See your dentist regularly.
Always keep yourself hydrated with water and milk.
Well, I hope that helps. Good luck!

Dr. Fritz

(For your questions, you may send them to Dear Dr. Fritz, c/o Sunstar-Davao Publishing Inc., Ebro-Pelayo Building, Jacinto St., Davao City, (former Department of Foreign Affairs office), across Ateneo de Davao University and beside Holy Child School of Davao, or you e-mail them to Sorry that we canot answer all your questions. Thank you for your understanding.)

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on April 15, 2014.


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