Dry mouth: the various causes behind the problem

Salivation is of utmost importance for the health of the mouth. When it decreases the body’s defenses can be impaired, increasing the chances of suffering from complications, such as the proliferation of bacteria. And, because of this, health problems can be related to this dysfunction.

In one day the salivary glands can produce about a liter of the liquid. Xerostomia, the name given to the problem, is a condition where the production of saliva becomes low, or zero. This change tends to bring health risks.

Bad habits

Some of the reasons linked to its appearance are: breathing through the mouth, dehydration, snoring, smoking, poor oral hygiene and consumption of alcoholic beverages.

Medicines and diseases

However, when there is a sharp and visible decrease in salivary production, this change may be associated with some factors. The consumption of certain medications, such as antidepressants and antiallergic agents, or even diseases such as diabetes (which leads to the destruction of the salivary glands due to high blood glucose rates) are among the causes.

Xerostomia can also occur in patients with arthritis , Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Elderly people and people exposed to constant stress are more susceptible to this disorder.

Cancer treatments

Because they are strong, the drugs used in radiotherapy or chemotherapy can lead to dryness of the mouth, as they harm the salivary glands. The dysfunction can present itself even permanently.

Why bother?

The absence or little production of saliva makes room for other problems. In this liquid present in the mouth it is possible to find important substances not only for that region, but also for the whole organism. They are amino acids, minerals and enzymes that together prevent the proliferation of bacteria such as those that cause caries and halitosis.

Saliva is also responsible for protecting the body against viruses and bacteria entering the mouth, and plays an important role in defending the respiratory system against infections. In addition, it is essential for the digestion of food, which starts in the mouth.