Xerostomia is a medical term used for dry mouth. This condition occurs when there is lack of saliva, no enough saliva to keep the mouth wet, or there is reduced or absent in saliva flow. It is associated (not always) with hypofunction of the salivary glands.
Xerostomia may also result from a change in composition of saliva (from serous to mucous).It may interest you to know that, Xerostomia is not a disease; it is a symptom, just like headache, but can have substantial knock-on effects on our health.
An unstimulated whole saliva flow rate in a normal person is 0.3–0.4 ml per minute and below 0.1 ml per minute is significantly abnormal. A stimulated saliva flow rate less than 0.5 ml per gland in 5 minutes or less than 1 ml per gland in 10 minutes is decreased.
POSSIBLE CAUSES OF DRY MOUTH
Inadequate function of the salivary gland
Medications: Many prescribed drugs as well over-the-counter medications can cause dry mouth, including antihistamines, hypertensive medications (forhigh blood pressure), anti-diarrheal, muscle relaxants, urinary continence drugs.
Age: Dry mouth is more prevalent in the aging population. Old age may not be a dry mouth risk factor, but elderly individuals tend to take more medications (that could cause dry mouth) than the rest of the population.
Cancer treatment:Radiotherapy (radiation therapy) to the head and neck region can cause damage to the salivary glands, resulting in the production of less saliva. Chemotherapy on the other hand, can alter the nature of the saliva and how much of it the body produces.
Injury or surgery: May result in nerve damage to the head and neck area, thereby causing dry mouth.
Tobacco: Either chewing or smoking tobacco increases the risk of dry mouth symptoms.
Dehydration: Caused by lack of sufficient fluids.
Exercising or playing in the heat: The salivary glands may become dry as the bodily fluids are concentrated elsewhere in the body. Dry mouth symptoms are more likely if the exercise or playing continues for a long time.
Other Health Conditions and habits that can cause Dry Mouth includes: