Symptoms and Treatments for Dry Mouth in the Elderly

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Symptoms and Treatments for Dry Mouth in the Elderly

Happy Female Doctor or Nurse Explaining Prescription to Senior Adult Woman.

While most people have experienced dry mouth when nervous, thirsty or embarrassed, the chronic condition of dry mouth is something entirely different. Lots of elderly people suffer from dry mouth and it is often untreated because it seems so minor that family caregivers and elderly people don’t bring it up to their doctor. However, dry mouth can lead to a number of health issues and may even be a sign of a serious illness in the body. When it comes to dry mouth, there’s no reason to put off talking to a doctor.

Home Health Care Rolling Hills CA - Symptoms and Treatments for Dry Mouth in the Elderly

Home Health Care Rolling Hills CA – Symptoms and Treatments for Dry Mouth in the Elderly

What is Dry Mouth?

When the salivary glands don’t work well, it can leave a senior’s mouth dry and sticky. Saliva is important to the mouth in processing food, keeping it clean and aiding in speaking and swallowing. Dry mouth in seniors is usually caused by medications they are taking. In older adults, dry mouth is most commonly a side effect of certain medications, including those for blood pressure, allergies, pain, overactive bladder, depression, anxiety and Parkinson’s disease, just to name a few. Dry mouth is also a symptom of other conditions like diabetes or HIV.

What are the Symptoms of Dry Mouth?

Many seniors describe dry mouth as the dryness and sticky feeling when they try to swallow or talk. Other symptoms may be thicker saliva, burning in the throat when eating and a hoarse voice. Choking on food is common in seniors with dry mouth, as is difficulty swallowing. Often, elderly people will experience chapped, cracked lips and sores at the side of the mouth.

Other symptoms of dry mouth include bad breath and high levels of gum disease and tooth decay. That’s because there isn’t enough saliva to keep the teeth free from food debris and rid the mouth of fungus or bacteria. Far too many seniors, family caregivers and home health care assistants simply attribute dry mouth to just being a part of aging, but there’s no reason an elderly person has to suffer.

Treatments for Dry Mouth

The best way to treat dry mouth is for family caregivers to arrange for a doctor’s appointment for their aging loved one. The doctor will be able to figure out what is causing the dry mouth, and then explain the proper treatment. Sometimes, it’s as simple as switching medications to something that won’t have dry mouth as a side effect. Other times, there may be a yet undiagnosed medical condition that is causing the dry mouth that the doctor can then treat. The doctor can also assess whether or not the salivary glands are working and what might be causing problems with them.

Seniors can get relief from the symptoms of dry mouth in several ways. Their doctor may prescribe medicine that helps to stimulate the salivary glands into being more productive. Elderly people should also drink plenty of water and sleep with a humidifier to moisten the air. Chewing gum and sucking on hard candy can also make the mouth more moist. Home health care aides can help seniors avoid hot and caffeinated drinks, which can dry out the mouth. Smoking exacerbates dry mouth and aggravates symptoms.

There’s no reason to ignore dry mouth when an elderly loved one is suffering from it. Observant family caregivers and home health care assistants can play close attention to see whether or not the elderly loved one is showing the symptoms of dry mouth. Then, they’ll be able to get the help they need to overcome it.


If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Health Care Services in Rolling Hills CA, please contact the caring staff at 1Heart Caregiver Services today.

Belina C. Nernberg
Belina C. Nernberg
Belina Calderon-Nernberg is the CEO and founder of a group of successful companies – 1Heart Caregiver Services, LA Jobs Employment Agency Inc. and Summit Medical Billing Solutions, Inc. As the CEO of 1Heart Caregiver Services, one of the fastest growing in-home care service companies in California, Belina has been responsible for the company’s increased productivity and consistent profitability for more than 12 years. Belina provided the vision, leadership, and direction that the company needed to achieve its short-term and long-term goals. As her greatest accomplishment, the company is now equipped with the expertise to expand its business operations to different States in the U.S. Belina brings with her a corporate experience of 23 years, with 13 solid years of experience as CEO of an employment agency and a senior care service company in Southern California. Belina’s principle-centered leadership and strength in her ability to combine corporate talents pave the way for the company to achieve greater heights. Belina has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of St. La Salle, Philippines. In 2013, she was honored with the Los Angeles IMAGE AWARDS – an award given to emerging leaders in business, community service, arts and entertainment. In June 2014, she was also awarded the title of Ambassador of Goodwill by the HiFi (Historic Filipinotown) Neighborhood Council. This title is bestowed to carefully selected Filipino-Americans who are persons of integrity who have the ability “to promote, reach out, influence and mobilize public interest and support of the ideals, values, principles and programs of the Historic Filipinotown.” In December 2015, she was also the recipient of the TOPLA (The Outstanding Pilipinos in Los Angeles) Award for Leadership Excellence in Human Resources. 1Heart Caregiver Services is a certified member of CAHSAH and has been featured in Asian newspapers and other media publications all over the United States like Yahoo! News, Google, TV, radio and newspaper online due to its various accomplishments, corporate programs, and contribution to the senior care industry. Belina’s vision remains solid and strategic as the company moves forward in its goal of making a positive difference in the home care industry.

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