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?

Coach 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.

Symptoms, big or small, 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.

What helps?

• 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,
Bette Dowdell

About the author: Bette Dowdell defines determination. A drunk driver put her into a really deep health ditch when she was a baby, giving her a concussion. Concussions are murder on the endocrine system, which controls all of health, and down the hill she tumbled. Doctors didn’t help–for years. So, she got her Oh-Yeah! attitude in gear and researched her way out. Bette never intended to be a health expert, but sometimes a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, and she’s still researching. To subscribe to Bette’s free health e-mails, click the “subscribe” button on the right.

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