The COVID-19 pandemic has offered new challenges to humanity in all aspects of our lives, including our oral health. Scientists have discovered a noticeable increase in cases of xerostomia (dry mouth) in patients suffering from COVID.
Read along to learn more about “why is dry mouth more common during the pandemic?”
WHAT CAUSES DRY MOUTH?
Dry mouth (also known as xerostomia) is an oral health condition. It occurs due to insufficient saliva secretion or salivary gland dysfunction. In other words, it’s a problem that lack of saliva production causes in your mouth. The main causes of dry mouth include:
- Medication side effects
- Cancer treatment
- Underlying health problems
There are various underlying health conditions that cause dry mouth. This includes type 1 diabetes, viral infections like mumps, vitamin deficiencies, Alzheimer’s disease, HIV, Hepatitis C, and hypertension.
A dry mouth due to lack of saliva production can impact your oral cavity along with your general quality of life. In recent months, researchers have found that dry mouth might be an early indication of Covid-19 before respiratory signs and symptoms appear.
WHY IS DRY MOUTH (XEROSTOMIA) MORE COMMON DURING COVID-19?
The following are the most common reasons behind dry mouth or lack of saliva production in your mouth during COVID pandemic.
- Changes in mental health
- Changes in diet and lifestyle
CHANGES IN MENTAL HEALTH
Anxiety is a common mental health issue linked to a lack of saliva production. This is because intense anxiety and stress can cause acid reflux symptoms. This can affect your salivary glands and thus lead to less saliva production and a dry mouth.
Currently, our collective mental well-being is under strain more than ever more due to the pandemic. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), some of the pandemic’s biggest problems are social detachment, isolation, and financial hardships, which can affect the mental well-being of many. If the current situation is making you anxious or stressed, your rate of producing saliva may undergo noticeable changes, leading to a dry mouth condition.
CHANGES IN DIET AND LIFESTYLE
Lifestyle has dramatically changed since the pandemic, combined with alterations in diet for many people. One example of dietary and lifestyle changes is increased alcohol consumption. It is found that alcohol consumption has increased for many people during COVID, leading to dehydration and dry mouth. In addition, many patients have started self-medication. Certain medicines can influence your salivary glands’ activity, resulting in a lack of saliva production or a dry mouth.
You need to drink plenty of water regularly to stay hydrated. Even a minor drop in water levels can adversely impact your well-being. As you may already know, dehydration is one of the causes of dry mouth. During the Covid-19 pandemic, people are often hesitant to carry a bottle in public areas. Moreover, it’s harder to stay hydrated if you wear personal protective equipment throughout the day. Even patients that mostly stay indoors often ignore their thirst due to an increased sedentary lifestyle. If this process is repeated for a few days, low hydration levels may cause a drop in saliva production, thus causing xerostomia.
OVERCOMING DRY MOUTH DURING COVID-19
While the pandemic has brought new challenges, maintaining habits that promote healthy salivary glands is essential for a healthy life. You should try to restore normality to your daily habits, including oral hygiene, lifestyle choices, and hydration. To maintain or improve dental hygiene, visit the dentists in Cypress, TX. We are expert at guiding people to maintain their dental hygiene.
If you or a family member is experiencing dry mouth, feel free to visit Cypress Dental Clinic. Give us a call at (832)-427-6620 to schedule an appointment. Our team of dental professionals is ready to help you!