Dry Mouth Woes
Most folks think of “Dry Mouth,” known amongst the poobahs as xerostomia (zero STOW mee uh), as a minor, occasional inconvenience.
For most of us, if dry mouth shows up, it goes away fairly quickly, so we don’t worry about it.
But for some, dry mouth comes and stays. These folks don’t worry about it, either, but it is, in fact, a symptom that needs a little TLC. Sometimes more than just a little.
As most of you know, I go on and on (and on) about symptoms. One reader decided I was talking about a heart attack as a symptom. Seen from a wide-angle lens, I suppose it is, but why not head problems off at the pass before calamity strikes?
John Wooden said “It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.” And that’s the truth, whether in health or in basketball. Or anything else, for that matter.
Dry mouth is a symptom that doesn’t get much attention or care. But by taking care of little health problems, we help our bodies fight the biggies.
Symptoms are how your body tells you what it needs-and what it doesn’t. Paying attention is a really swell idea.
Problems caused by dry mouth
• Dental cavities and gum infections
• Bad breath
• Speaking and swallowing difficulties
• Sores or broken skin at the corners of your mouth
• A burning tongue
• Difficulties eating dry food
What causes dry mouth?
• Far and away the major cause of persistent dry mouth, leading all other causes by miles, is prescription drugs. Currently, we know of 600 prescription drugs that cause dry mouth.
Drugs for depression and psychosis are well known for drying out the saliva in your mouth. This seems almost a crime, what with the fact that the drugs don’t actually fix anything. Here’s a clue that might help: Nutritional deficiencies, particularly a vitamin B deficiency, cause both depression and dry mouth.
Other problem drugs are those for urinary incontinence, allergies, high blood pressure, tranquilizers, diuretics, and chemotherapy. Among many others. The high blood pressure drug, clonidine, is also used on ADHD kids, and a study tracked an 84% increase in dental carries in kids treated with clonidine. Nutrition is a better answer for ADHD-and for teeth, too.
• Endocrine problems. Now, let’s see: Low thyroid can cause depression and dry mouth. And nutritional deficiencies whack the thyroid into submission, so this sure looks like a domino kind of thing.
And remember your immune system, the protector of life, is part of the endocrine system.
• Sjogren’s (SHOW grens) syndrome, an autoimmune disease, causes dry mouth-and dries out other body parts, too. Medicine says there’s no cure for Sjogren’s, but all autoimmune diseases start with a whacked immune system.
You’ll hear an overactive immune system causes autoimmune diseases. As if. The problem is a whacked immune system that doesn’t know which way is up. Medicine says this is a natural part of aging, but no.
• You may hear that aging brings along dry mouth, but it’s your health status, not your age, that makes the difference. And you can do something about your health.
• Non-prescription drugs can cause dry mouth, too. Such as antihistamines, alcohol, marijuana, heroin, methamphetamine, etc.
• First, foremost, and above all, improve your nutrition. Since what we’re told about nutrition is wrong, there’s a lot of learning to do.
• While you’re building your nutrition program, gargle with salt water a few times a day. Use real sea salt; the minerals in it give your nutrition a little boost. I like the taste of Celtic Sea Salt the best.
• Talk to your doctor about changing to a different drug. If you’re taking drugs for depression, sleep, etc., you’re pretty much on your own; changing drugs won’t help. Fortunately, improving your nutrition can eliminate your need for drugs.
Don’t accept dry mouth as just the way things are; help your body. You never know what all you’ll heal once you give your body what it needs.
God is good,
Copyright by Bette Dowdell. All rights reserved
P.S. Bette Dowdell is not a doctor, nor does she purport to be She’s a patient who’s been studying and successfully handling her own endocrine problems for more than 30 years. She offers introductory teleseminars and an in-depth 12-month subscription program, “Moving to Health” about living well with endocrine issues. She explains how things work-or don’t, discusses what things to avoid as well as the things that help, and she provides a lot of well-researched nutritional information. Subscribe to her free e-zine at Information is power.