Owners' Blog

Do You Suffer From Dry Mouth? Why You Shouldn’t Overlook this Symptom

By Greg and Hilary Eldridge

Elder Care near Roswell GA

Dry mouth is also referred to as cottonmouth or dough mouth. Medical professionals use the term xerostomia. Dry mouth is caused when a person doesn’t produce enough saliva, leaving the mouth feeling parched, gritty, and sticky. Dry mouth may not seem like anything to worry about, but elder care shouldn’t be too quick to overlook this symptom.

On average, an adult produces a quart-and-a-half of saliva every day. Saliva is helpful for breaking down food and washing away particles. It also limits the growth of bacteria and viruses that are responsible for tooth decay, bad breath, and gum disease.

Severe cases of dry mouth can make chewing and swallowing almost impossible. Lips often become cracked and mouth sores develop. One of the things known to be helpful while eating is taking frequent sips of water.

People who develop dry mouth may find out from a dentist visit that their mouth is riddled with decay. The decay happens near the roots making it difficult to treat. Dry mouth can also cause you to experience burning in the mouth or high sensitivity to hot and cold.

A major contributor to dry mouth in the elderly is the medication they take. According to the American Dental Association, there are over 500 drugs used to treat heart problems, cancer, anxiety, and allergies that can cause dry mouth. Other causes of dry mouth are alcohol abuse, hormone changes, infections, or trauma to the mouth.

It is important for home care providers to pay attention to any changes in a loved one’s health condition. Dry mouth often gets overlooked by caregivers. Home care for the elderly should be aware that dry mouth can be a sign or symptom of a more serious illness, such as diabetes, anemia, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, lupus, and other auto-immune disorders.

Regular visits to the dentist can be helpful in discovering dry mouth in the elderly as it can happen from one visit to the next. Dentists are able to pick up on dry mouth because the patient’s tongue will have a white coating and the inside of their cheeks will be red.

Elder care shouldn’t take dry mouth lightly. If you notice the signs and symptoms in your loved one that point to dry mouth, contact the dentist as soon as possible. Follow the instructions of the dentist for treatment.

If you or an aging loved one are looking for senior care in the home, contact the caring staff at Home Helpers of Alpharetta. Call today (678) 430-8511