Friday, July 19, 2019

Lubricating Your Dry Throat and Dry Mouth

People from all walks of life who use their voice extensively (teachers, sales persons, speakers, singers, etc.) suffer from dryness of the vocal cords due to overuse. Dry vocal cords do not vibrate well so there is difficulty in speaking. People who snore experience similar problems since snoring causes dryness of the throat. In addition to difficulty speaking caused by reduction in saliva, common symptoms for people who have a dry mouth (xerostomia) problem include bad breath, frequent thirst, difficulty eating dry foods, thirsty with a dry mouth at night, a sticky, sore dry mouth, sore throat, a red and parched mouth, a pebbled appearance of the tongue, cracked lips, and difficulty in swallowing.

Many over-the-counter cold and allergy medicines (antihistamines) cause dry mouth. In addition, many prescription medicines are a major cause of dryness of the throat. These include anti-depressants, diuretics, anti-hypertension drugs, drugs to treat Parkinson’s disease, and some beta-blockers. About half of people over 60 years of age often take three or more drugs which increases their likelihood of having a dry mouth problem. The lack of saliva, which help remove bacteria, often results in oral health problems such as increase in cavities, gingivitis (inflammation of the gum), and periodontitis – which can lead to loss of teeth. Diseases such as Sjögren’s syndrome and diabetes result in dry mouth. Treatment for head and neck cancers often result in salivary gland damage with resulting decrease in saliva. Head and neck injury can damage nerves to the salivary gland which tell the glands to make saliva.

The typical solution is drinking lots of water or other liquids (e.g., tea). This works well but the solution is temporary since water must be taken frequently to provide on-going relief. There is also the inconvenience of carrying around the water. Sucking on sugar-free candy or chewing sugar-free gum may help. Lubricating mouth rinses work well, but relief is temporary. There is also the inconvenience of carrying an oral rinse and going to a place where there is a sink in order to use the mouth rinse. There are lubricating sprays which work. The inconvenience is the necessity for frequent spraying since the effect is temporary and one must carry around the spray bottle. Prescription medicine containing pilocarpine or cevimeline to stimulate saliva is another solution. A new alternative that works well is a long lasting lozenge (Salese) which gives a soothing coating to the throat to lubricate and alleviate dryness of the throat. The lozenge is small in size and soft, can be carried in the pocket or purse, and allows one to easily speak with the lozenge in the mouth.

Source by Jerry Gin

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