Tuesday, January 25

Dry mouth can increase up to 56% in patients with Covid-19

Different scientific studies have shown that the prevalence of xerostomia or dry mouth increases up to 30-56% in COVID-19 patients, while, in the general population, without counting the effects of the pandemic, it can vary between 20-40%.

Xerostomia or the subjective sensation of dry mouth is generally associated with a decreased or absent saliva or changes in its composition.

This decrease in saliva production can negatively affect the patient’s health and quality of life.

It may interest you: Soft drinks, ice cream, citrus and alcohol in moderation. They can hurt your mouth!

The hypotheses developed by different researchers suggest that in the context of patients who have been affected by COVID-19, dry mouth could occur as direct consequence of coronavirus, which affects the salivary glands causing less saliva production.

This affectation could be due to the expression in the salivary glands of the ACE-2 receptors, used by SARS-CoV-2 to infect human cells.

On some occasions, this direct effect of the virus could be aggravated by side effects of medicines used to treat the symptoms of Covid-19 or also by the continued use of the face mask, which encourages us to breathe through the mouth instead of through the nose, causing greater dryness in the oral cavity.

What is xerostomia?

All of us at some point have had the sensation of a dry mouth. When we are nervous, stressed … We can also have this feeling if we smoke or drink alcohol.

And is that the appearance of xerostomia, its medical name, can vary depending on age and general health.

In addition to what has already been said, the cause of dry mouth may be due to:

Symptoms of xerostomia

The main symptoms that warn of the possibility of suffering from dry mouth or xerostomia are:

And although it is a pathology that is not serious, the lack of saliva in the mouth, in addition to being a rather unpleasant sensation, can cause other problems such as redness, irritation, inflammation of the mucous membranes (stomatitis), bad breath (halitosis), fissures in the lips and tongue or an increased risk of oral infections.

Saliva is necessary for the proper functioning of the mouth as it serves to clean and protect the mouth, perceive taste, digest, facilitate speech, or regulate pH.

Beyond the discomforts previously described, the decrease in normal saliva secretion can cause it accumulation of bacteria harmful causes of tooth decay, gum disease, bad breath or repeated mouth infections.

As specialists warn, as xerostomia can be a disorder derived from other systemic diseases, its care and treatment may involve different health professionals, such as dentists or medical specialists in each pathology.

Dr. Carmen Jódar, a primary care physician, tells how xerostomia is a problem at a general level, which affects more than COVID-19 patients.

“It is a disorder that affects the general population, and more now with the use of masks, which induces a lower flow of saliva and dries the mouth a lot,” he says.

«The wearing time of the mask is proportional to the dryness of the mouth », concludes the doctor.

Fortunately, in most cases, dry mouth can be treated by recovering or stimulating salivary secretion.

One of the possible solutions could be the recommendation of the use of products that help hydrate the oral cavity and that favor the natural production of saliva.

In cases of irreversible xerostomia, the solution passes through maximum hydration of the oral cavity.

What do I do if I have a dry mouth?

The sensation caused by xerostomia is very, very unpleasant.

So once we have gone to the doctor to make sure that there is nothing unusual behind the lack of oral hydration, we can only treat the symptoms. How?


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