One of the most annoying and expensive side effects of taking opioids is dry mouth (clinically known as xerostomia). People with this condition may be at risk for a variety of dental problems. Saliva, which helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease and washes food and decongestants in the mouth, is reduced in a person with a dry mouth. Bacteria can multiply and cause dental problems that begin with gingivitis, and may eventually lead to periodontitis, which requires the removal of teeth in untreated conditions.
This condition reduces saliva production, increases your risk of cavities and other oral health problems. Often, people taking drugs such as drugs wonder, "Do opioids cause dry mouth?" If you have ever had this side effect, keep reading to learn why your medication may cause it and the risks of leaving it untreated.
What Is Dry Mouth?
Dry mouth which is also known as xerostomia is a condition in which the salivary glands in your mouth do not produce enough saliva to keep your mouth moist. Dry mouth is usually caused by certain medications, as well as aging or radiation treatment.
Although this may seem like a small thing, saliva plays a vital role in our bodies. Saliva helps prevent tooth decay by eliminating toxins produced by bacteria, which could eat away at the enamel and teeth. Saliva makes it easier to chew and swallow food, and it improves taste (and who doesn't want that?)
Why Do Opioids Cause Dry Mouth?
Among the many drugs that cause dry mouth, opioids are high on the list. Many patients complain of taking opiates and symptoms of dry mouth. But what is the science behind it? It all starts with how opioids affect the brain. Opioids have a depressing or depressing effect on the central nervous system, meaning they slow down nerve function, as well as activities such as breathing and heartbeat.
Opioids may also be involved in the autonomic nervous system, which regulates involuntary bodily functions such as breathing, heartbeat, digestive processes, and saliva production. Because opioids slow down the process, saliva production is also affected. Opioids may also be involved in the autonomic nervous system, which regulates involuntary bodily functions such as breathing, heartbeat, digestive processes, and saliva production. Because opioids slow down the process, saliva production is also affected.
How to Combat a Dry Mouth?
You can combat a dry mouth by the following methods:
Drink plenty of fluids, especially water but occasionally a drink that is high in electrolytes and low in sugar. If you just drink water, after a certain point, you just urinate. Remember that fruit has sugar and water. So if you want to reduce fruit to get a portion of water as part of your daily liquid, stick to fruit with less sugar like apples than fruit with as much sugar as watermelon.
Callahan notes that lemon juice, in particular, has been widely used to help cleanse the mouth and eliminate bad breath that has been associated with dry mouth. Water with coconut, cucumber, and pineapple can also be beneficial, he says. When you are not in the fruit, chewing ginger or eating edible plant sticks can help both rejuvenate the salivary glands and increase natural moisture, he adds.
Use Moisturizing Mouthwashes
Avoid using mouthwash with alcohol and peroxide, as it will dry your mouth. Instead, try softening the lips with a powerful mouthwash. Saliva made with cosmetics (such as over-the-counter melting tabs) to lubricate your mouth can also give you some relief, Callahan said. Sleeping in a moist room can also be helpful, he says, such as absorbing sugar-free candy or chewing sugar-free gum to improve saliva production.