Common dry mouth could be 'red flag' symptom of five serious illnesses

Open female mouth during oral checkup at the dentist. Selective focus.
A dentist has warned that dry mouth can be a red flag for five more serious conditions -Credit:Getty

A dry mouth might seem like a minor inconvenience, but one dentist has issued a stark warning that it could be a 'red flag' symptom of five serious illnesses.

Dr Azad Eyrumlu, from the leading private dental firm Banning Dental Group, has highlighted why Brits should pay attention to this common symptom, reports the Mirror.

While a dry mouth can often be caused by snoring, smoking, certain medications or excessive alcohol consumption, and is also a natural part of ageing due to reduced saliva production - it can also signal poor oral health. More worryingly, it could be an indicator of potentially life-threatening conditions such as diabetes and HIV.

Dr Eyrumlu explained: "A dry mouth can be a sign something's not right elsewhere. This can manifest itself with symptoms such as a sticky feeling in the mouth, a dry or sore throat, difficulty chewing or swallowing or even bad breath. Certain health conditions such as a stroke, diabetes or Alzheimer's disease can show themselves in this way, while these symptoms can also be an indicator of an autoimmune disorder such as HIV or Sjogren's syndrome."

He indicated: "When you visit a dentist, we don't just look out for your oral health. We are trained in how to spot certain wider problems with your general health, too. It's vital to keep a close eye on your own health and if you do notice persistent symptoms of a dry mouth then you must highlight this with your GP."

Teenager with type 1 diabetes uses an at home glucometer to test his blood sugar levels.
A dry mouth can be a sign something’s not right elsewhere - including being a sign for diabetes -Credit:Getty

Xerostomia is the medical term for the condition when our salivary glands fail to secrete enough saliva to keep our mouths moist. Despite often overlooked, our saliva plays a crucial role in maintaining oral health, neutralising harmful bacteria-produced acids and washing away food remnants.

Furthermore, it encompasses critical enzymes that assist digestion, helping our bodies get the needed vitamins and nutrients, and proving indispensable to avoid tooth decay. For optimal oral hygiene, a visit to the dentist every six months is recommended.

Also suggested by experts is brushing teeth twice a day for two minutes using fluoride toothpaste, along with frequent flossing and the utilisation of mouthwash.

Five serious conditions dry mouth could be an indicator of

Dry mouth might be an red flag sign of:

  • HIV

  • Diabetes

  • Alzheimer's Disease

  • Stroke

  • Sjogren’s syndrome

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