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Dry Mouth and Tongue - Overview

Dry mouth and tongue is medically known as Xerostomia. In case there is insufficient production of saliva the person will definitely experience symptoms and signs of dry mouth and tongue. Saliva has many functions and maintaining the adequate moisture of the mouth and tongue is only one of them.

This condition can be caused by many factors and illnesses and it affects each and every person once in a while. For example, dryness of mouth and tongue normally occurs as a part of aging process. However, if it lasts longer it has to be taken seriously and there is need for the underlying cause to be established.

Causes of Dry Mouth and Tongue

There is a variety of factors and illnesses which contribute to inappropriate production of saliva which consequently causes dry mouth and tongue.

Definitely the most common cause of transitory dryness of the mouth and tongue is dehydration.

Many drugs and medications, particularly if they are taken for longer period of time cause this unpleasant condition. These medications include both, prescribed drugs and over-the-counter medications. It is common for one to experience problems with dry mouth and tongue if he/ she takes antihistamines, decongestants, certain anti-depressants and diuretics. Furthermore, people suffering from hypertension may also face this problem if they are prescribed certain antihypertensive agents. The condition can also affect people treated with muscle relaxants and anti Parkinson drugs.

Apart from the previously mentioned dry mouth may be a consequence of chemotherapeutics and is always a side effect of radiation therapy of the neck region. During radiation therapy of the neck salivary glands are exposed to high-energy beams which cause transitory hypoproduction of the saliva.

Dry mouth and tongue may also occur due to certain medical conditions such as Sjogren's syndrome, Altzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, diabetes, anemia, rheumatoid arthritis, mumps etc. Furthermore, this problem affects women in menopause, those suffering from nutritional deficiencies and people suffering from mouth disorders.

Even damage of the nerves which innervate the salivary glands can be the cause of dry mouth and tongue. Namely, these nerves can be damaged by certain inflammatory processes, trauma, or surgery.

And finally people who tend to breathe with their mouth open as well as smokers and those who chew tobacco usually complain about problems with dry mouth and tongue.

Treatment for Dry Mouth and Tongue

In case dry mouth and tongue are consequence of certain medications the doctor is supposed to replace these medications with adequate substitution. The treatment for dehydration includes proper intake of sufficient amount of water. People suffering from certain illnesses as well as those who have developed the problem due to radiation therapy of the neck may benefit from sucking sugar free candy or chewing sugar free gum. And finally, there are over-the counter artificial saliva substitutes which may be taken and partially alleviate the symptoms of the condition.

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