Tips and Treatments for Dry Mouth

Did you know that there can be serious consequences to the effects of dry mouth? Dry mouth is a treatable problem and should not be ignored. Tooth decay and gum problems, along with bad breath and discomfort while eating and speaking, are a few of the problems associated with dry mouth. Dry mouth happens when the glands in the mouth do not produce enough saliva because they are not functioning properly.

There are many reasons that people develop dry mouth. Taking certain common medications can cause dry mouth. Autoimmune disorders, chemotherapy for cancer and radiation therapy for the head and neck are also common causes for dry mouth. If you begin to develop a dry feeling in your throat or mouth sores it could be an indicator of dry mouth. Some people get dry, cracked lips or a rough dry tongue with dry mouth.

Saliva production in your mouth is critical to defend against periodontal disease and tooth decay. Saliva helps with food digestion and swallowing. Saliva helps clean the teeth and fight against bacteria; it also helps neutralize acids in the mouth. It is a buffering agent that is crucial for proper oral health. Saliva has important minerals in it that help resurface the teeth.

Talk to your dentist if you think you have the symptoms of dry mouth. You will need to tell your dentist about any and all medications that you are currently taking, so bring an updated list with you to your next dental appointment. Your dentist can share a list of medications that typically cause dry mouth symptoms. You may need to start using products with fluoride to help protect your teeth.  Your dentist may prescribe a medication designed to help your body produce more saliva.

If you suffer from dry mouth you can help the problem by sipping water throughout the day to keep your mouth moist. Sucking on sugar free candy or ice chips help, but avoid chewing on both candy and ice. Chewing sugar free gum is also good to help stimulate saliva production. You can purchase and use over the counter saliva products to help combat dry mouth. These products are designed to keep your mouth moist. Using a humidifier in your home and bed room can be helpful for dry mouth. Caffeine, alcohol and tobacco should be avoided or limited if you struggle with dry mouth as they can all exasperate the problem.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Sarah Roberts, Crabapple Dental

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