Dry mouth? Something else/more? Looking for solutions.

Joined
Jul 26, 2023
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Hi - 48 yr old male here. Been dealing with what I feel is dry mouth for a year or so now and it's very annoying. I'm a former tobacco user and although I realize I need to go, I haven't been to the dentist in years. I don't go because I've never been fan and of course concerned about potential bad news from tobacco use. Despite this, I do brush and floss regularly and my mouth and gums seem to be ok, from what I can tell anyway - so take that for what it's worth. Some aspects/symptoms of what I feel is dry mouth is the following - 1) I need to speak a lot for work and it doesn't take much speaking for me to feel like my mouth is dry and it needs some relief (water, lozenge, etc.). 2) I keep waking up with progressively worse cotton mouth in the morning 3) I seem to get some markers of dry mouth like enflamed taste buds and little sores in my mouth - they do go away but show up routinely 4) occasional slight metallic taste from my upper inner gums 5) more sensitive to alcohol & spicy foods than before - specifically tongue and roof of mouth. I've tried so many remedies of all types, e.g., dry mouth tooth paste, Biotene mouthwash, Salivea mouthwash, dry mouth lozenges, drinking lots of water, jolly ranchers, etc.. Nothing seems to make my condition improve and all of the remedies above are only very temporary. I have noticed that eating seems to relieve my dry mouth feeling, maybe because when I eat more saliva is produced, I don't know.

One of the most annoying parts of my dry mouth is the frequent feeling of my upper inside gums near my hard palate. They feel almost always feel rough and dry and I'm always running my tongue over them. It's sort of the source of the most dryness. I've attached some images. One of them (Picture #1) I've included arrows which show the location of part that's a bit rough and dry. When I look at the arrowed parts in a mirror and shine a light, those spots have a whitish appearance as compared to the rest of my mouth. In the pictures, the arrowed parts don't appear to be that white. Picture #2 doesn't highlight the whitish part either. Picture #3 does seem to show some of the whiteness and I've added an arrow showing what I mean. The gum is darker right night to the tooth and has some kind of white coloration as it gets further away from the tooth. I don't know if this is normal, an indication of dryness, or something else or worse. I've also included an image of my tongue. I feel like the my tongue has some kind of whiteness going on and I do brush it and scrape it but it doesn't really seem to get much better. I've been reading on line as to what it could be and it's too hard to come to a conclusion. Things that come up are dry mouth, thrush, trapped bacteria on tongue, diabetes induced dry mouth (I'm not diabetic last I checked), and leukoplakia. I'm going to visit a dentist but need to figure out who to go to.

So for now, does anyone have any insight as to what might be going on based on the information provided? If it's dry mouth, are there better solutions? Any prescription meds that can help? Thanks for reading and any insight you have to offer.
 

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MattKW

Verified Dentist
Joined
Mar 18, 2018
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There are salivary tests available to get a quantitative assessment of your salivary issues. If your dentist doesn't have a kit available, then referral to an oral biologist would be an idea. Note that the quantity of saliva alone may not be the problem - saliva contains both mucous (sticky) and serous (runny) components. I attach a file with the more common causes of dry mouth highlighted (medicines, alcohol, smoking,...)
 

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