Dry mouth is often a symptom of another condition, such as dehydration. It can also be a side effect of medication. However, severe dry mouth also comes with its set of symptoms. Some of these can have a grave impact on your health, and many are simply uncomfortable. If you experience these symptoms, you should talk to your doctor. Other treatments include chewing sugar-free gum, using a mouth rinse, or utilizing a humidifier. Before you can treat dry mouth, however, you must identify it as the source of your problems. What signs and symptoms should you look out for to diagnose this condition?
For many people, dry mouth is often accompanied by a dry, scratchy throat. Your mouth becomes dry when it does not produce enough saliva, and this can hurt your throat as well. This symptom is especially common in people whose dry mouth is caused by dehydration or breathing through the mouth. Chewing sugar-free gum or sucking on sugar-free hard candies may increase saliva production, which should soothe the throat. Drinking soothing beverages such as tea or water may also calm a scratchy throat. However, these are temporary fixes, and treatment for the cause of the dry mouth is still needed.
Many of the symptoms of dry mouth are related, such as hoarseness. A dry, scratchy throat can cause your voice to feel and sound hoarse. This hoarseness may be a temporary condition, which is often referred to as a “catch in the throat,” or it may be a symptom that lasts for several hours or days. Coughing or clearing your throat may help. Drinking water can also relieve this symptom in many cases since it is the result of dryness. While hoarseness is not a medically serious condition, it can be very frustrating, especially for those who must often speak as part of their daily life.
One of the most popular symptoms of dry mouth is bad breath. Saliva is not just used to keep your mouth moist; it is also necessary to clear it of bacteria, plaque, and debris that can cause bad breath. When you chew food, tiny pieces lodge in between teeth, as well as on the cheeks and tongue. If your mouth is not producing enough saliva, it cannot clear away these particles. As they begin to break down, they produce the odors that cause bad breath. To temporarily fix this, you can use breath fresheners like Listerine strips or sugar-free mints, which will produce saliva and mask bad breath.
Those who suffer from dry mouth know that it isn’t just an internal issue. It can cause cracking to occur on the lips and corners of the mouth, too. In addition to being a cosmetic issue that may cause anxiety or self-consciousness, cracked lips can also be painful or even bleed. Using Chapstick or Vaseline can ease this symptom, although it is not a long-term solution. If you notice that your lips or the corners of your mouth are beginning to crack, do not wait to apply a moisturizing solution. It is important to treat it before it develops into an open sore.
Dry Nasal Passages
Symptoms of dry mouth are also not limited to the mouth and throat. If you suffer from this condition, you may notice that your nose feels sore or dry. Dry nasal passages can lead to headaches and nosebleeds if left untreated, so it is important to take this symptom seriously. To keep your health issues from compounding in this way, use a humidifier that will pump water vapor into your home and moisten the air around you. Some other treatments for dry mouth, like drinking water, can also help to relieve the symptom of dry nasal passages.
Burning Sensation in the Mouth
One concerning symptom of dry mouth is a burning or tingling sensation. This tingling may be moderately painful but is usually more alarming than anything. It will typically affect the tongue or roof of the mouth. To relieve this symptom, you should drink water or chew gum to get the saliva flowing and relieve your dry mouth. There are also saliva substitutes that can be purchased at most drug stores that will help reduce this sensation. If this occurs frequently, it is important to find out what is causing the dry mouth to happen.
Thirst is a common sign of dry mouth, and not just when dehydration causes it. When your mouth is dry, you may feel as though you are thirsty even if you have drunk plenty of water. Using gum or candy to stimulate saliva production can fix this. However, many people don’t realize how little water they consume throughout the day. It may just be that you are not hydrating enough. If you think dry mouth causes your thirst, you should try to track your water intake for several days to see if that is the problem.
When your throat and mouth feel extremely dry, it may impact your ability to speak. This can manifest itself in several ways. You may feel hoarse or as though you have lost your voice. You may also experience frequent coughing or throat clearing, which can make it frustrating to speak in public. If your mouth is very dry, it can feel difficult to form words correctly with your tongue and lips. If you are experiencing this symptom regularly, you should see a doctor. It is important to deal with any symptoms that impact your daily life in this way.
Difficulty Chewing or Swallowing
Difficulty with chewing and swallowing your food may be another common problem for those who suffer from dry mouth. Saliva allows you to dissolve and swallow your food, and if you are not producing enough, you may feel as though you cannot chew or swallow your food easily. Instead, it may seem as though it’s stuck in your mouth or throat, or as though the food itself is dry and difficult to eat. Drinking water can help to relieve this sensation and allow you to swallow your food more easily, but if you should seek medical care if this symptom is causing you to avoid eating or drinking.
Sticky, Dry Feeling in Mouth
Unsurprisingly, the most common symptom of dry mouth is a dry, sticky sensation in the mouth itself. You may notice this before seeing any of the other symptoms. It is especially prevalent when you first wake up in the morning and is sometimes visible as a sticky film. It is important to get dry mouth treated since it can lead to poor dental hygiene, including cavities and other decay. If you experience any of these symptoms and at-home remedies, do not appear to help, make an appointment with your physician to discuss what might be the cause of these issues.