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Why you must not ignore dry sensation in the mouth, trouble swallowing or speaking, and a white tongue

"While dehydration, mouth breathing, smoking, and old age are all prevalent causes, it can also be the side effect of certain medications or indicate an underlying medical condition," said Dr Dimple Jangda, an Ayurveda expert

Dry mouth isn’t a serious medical condition on its own. (Representational image: Freepik)

Often, you may feel your mouth to be dry, a condition that can happen due to several reasons with less production of saliva usually being the main one. Scientifically known as hyposalivation, dry mouth condition, according to Dr Dimple Jangda, an Ayurveda expert, occurs when the salivary glands in the mouth fail to produce enough saliva to keep the mouth wet.

Healthline.com describes saliva to be a major defense mechanism that helps the body maintain good dental health, protecting the mouth from gum disease and tooth decay. It adds that while dry mouth isn’t a serious medical condition on its own, it can sometimes be a symptom of another underlying condition that requires treatment. “It can also lead to complications, like tooth decay and mouth sores,” the site reads.

Agreeing, Dr Jangda informs that “while dehydration, mouth breathing, smoking, and old age are all prevalent causes, it can also be a side effect of certain medications or indicate an underlying medical condition.”

 

Dry mouth is characterised by symptoms such as a dry sensation in the mouth, a hoarse throat, trouble swallowing or speaking, a white tongue, headaches, and foul breath. As such, to keep the mouth wet and alleviate the dry mouth condition, the expert suggests the following remedies:

Oil pulling: Swish coconut oil in your mouth for about 10 to 15 minutes. Spit out the oil and brush your teeth as usual. Coconut oil helps in keeping your mouth wet. It acts as a natural moisturiser and helps to combat dry mouth and its symptoms.

Celery: Cut some celery sticks and chew on them throughout the day. The water-retaining capacity of celery is helpful in keeping the mouth wet and increasing the production of saliva.

Fennel seeds: Fennel seeds are rich in flavonoids that help in stimulating the production of saliva and keeping the mouth clean. Take 1 tbsp of fennel seeds and chew on them after every meal.

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Aloe vera juice: Aloe vera helps with the functioning of salivary glands and increased production of saliva. Consume aloe vera juice or rinse your mouth with it.

Adding, Dr Yogini Patil, BAMS and Nutritionist, LivLong, said, “A dry mouth can be caused by an underlying problem or medical condition, such as medication, blocked nose, diabetes, radiotherapy or Sjogren’s syndrome. Whether your dry mouth symptoms are temporary or long-lasting, these simple measures below can help moisten your mouth.”

*Take frequent sips of cold water or an unsweetened beverage to improve your hydration intake.
*Suck on sugar-free candies or chew sugar-free gum to stimulate more saliva production by your salivary glands.
*Suck on ice cubes as the melting of ice will slowly moisten your mouth.
*Avoid smoking, caffeine, and alcohol (including alcohol-based mouthwashes), as these can all exacerbate dry mouth.

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“If these fail to help, your health specialist may advise using an artificial saliva substitute to keep your mouth moist. If radiotherapy or Sjögren’s syndrome is the cause of your dry mouth, then a medication called pilocarpine might be prescribed to help stimulate your salivary glands to produce more saliva,” she added.

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First published on: 24-01-2023 at 20:00 IST
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