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Dry Mouth Complications

There are a number of complications due to dry mouth. Dry mouth is caused by reduced salivary flow. Dysfunction of the salivary glands, due to a variety of factors, is the primary cause. The resulting dry mouth can lead to discomfort, pain, complications and other health problems. Saliva has many functions in mouth and throat. When saliva production is inadequate, these functions are limited.


When salivary flow is reduced, it is difficult to chew, swallow and digest food properly because saliva aids all of these processes. Taking big bites of food is not easy for people with dry mouth and difficulty in chewing makes it difficult for the body to extract sufficient nutrients from food.

Dental health is another serious dry mouth complication. The chance of tooth decay rises with insufficient saliva production. Saliva helps limit bacterial and fungal presence in the mouth. Mucositis is common in people with dry mouth. Mucositis is the inflammation of the lining of the mouth and can be quite painful. Another complication sometimes due to dry mouth is a fungal infection in the palate and tongue known as Candidiasis.

It is very difficult to wear dentures when experiencing dry mouth. Also, when saliva in the mouth is not secreted in sufficient quantity, it becomes much thicker, causing discomfort and further exacerbating symptoms.

Dryness of the mucus membrane in the mouth frequently occurs when saliva production is lowered. The mucus membrane becomes pale and thin. Fissuring and lobulation are also noticed in patients with dry mouth, causing pain and discomfort.

Dry mouth complications also include cracking in the angular cheilitis, the dorsum of the tongue and the corner of the mouth. Further, cracking and bleeding of the gums is a common complication of dry mouth. This is called gingivitis or inflammation of the gums and usually results in the receding of the gum line, and a sore and shiny mouth.

Another serious repercussion of dry mouth is impeded speech. With inadequate saliva production, pronouncing words becomes difficult. People who have dry mouth and difficulty speaking cannot simply 'swallow' and start talking normally. Lubrication of the mouth is essential to proper speech. For many dry mouth sufferers, constant ingestion of liquid is required for normal conversations.

Dry mouth can cause further problems as well. Specific foods that help with obesity issues or blood pressure maybe difficult to eat, exacerbating symptoms. An increase in cavities and mouth ulcers are other complications. Dry mouth can also lead to oral infections, from which saliva offers protection.

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Dry Mouth Complications