What is Dry Mouth?

Does your mouth feel dry when you wake up or even during the day?

Dry mouth can be uncomfortable and can also cause bad breath. But you don’t have to endure it for long. Your dental team can help you manage to treat it.

Dry mouth or xerostomia is caused by the lack of saliva in the mouth. Saliva is important as it helps neutralize acids in the mouth, control bacterial growth, and flush down food debris. Saliva also helps make eating and chewing enjoyable experiences.

Dry Mouth Causes

  • You may experience dry mouth as you age. This can be attributed to the changes in the body and medications you take, to name a few.
  • Certain medications, such as those for high blood pressure, can leave the mouth feeling dry.
  • Health conditions. Having illnesses such as eating disorders or a weakened immune system can also cause dry mouth.
  • Smoking. Smoking tobacco or cigarettes can also trigger dry mouth.
  • When there isn’t enough moisture in the mouth, dry mouth can occur.

Dry Mouth and Your Oral Health

When you have dry mouth, you become more vulnerable to tooth decay, gum disease, bad breath, and mouth ulcers. Saliva helps keep the mouth clean and also aids in food digestion.

How to Prevent Dry Mouth

  • Change medications. Talk to your physician or dentist about changing your prescriptions.
  • Use products to moisturize your mouth. Consider using products that restore and help maintain moisture in the mouth.
  • Swish with a fluoride rinse. Look out for the alcohol-free variants that are safe for daily use. Check the recommended products by the Canadian Dental Association.
  • Chew sugar-free gums. Increase salivary flow by chewing sugar-free gums and to also help keep the mouth clean.
  • Brush and floss daily. Brush three times a day to prevent plaque from building up. Floss to remove debris below the gum line.

The treatment for dry mouth depends on its cause. If you feel you have a dry mouth, talk to your doctors. The tips listed above may help relieve dry mouth, but they won’t resolve it for good.