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Dry Mouth

Published on January 26th, 2018

What is Dry Mouth?

Saliva plays a critical role in maintaining your oral health. It does a lot behind the scenes to make sure your mouth is operating efficiently. It helps aid digestion, it helps prevent tooth decay by washing away food particles and debris from accumulating on the teeth and gums, neutralizes acids that can damage tooth enamel, and the minerals in saliva help repair small instances of tooth decay.

 

When your mouth doesn’t produce an adequate amount of saliva, your mouth begins to dry out, leading to a condition called “xerostomia”, more commonly known as dry mouth. Dryness irritates the soft tissues inside of your mouth which can make you more susceptible to infection. The cleansing effects that saliva has on your mouth ward off tooth decay and other health problems, so dry mouth can lead to chronic oral health issues, not to mention bad breath.

 

What Causes Dry Mouth?

 

Dry mouth can be caused by a number of things including stress, nervousness, or lifestyle. Medications you take can cause dry mouth including depression and anxiety pharmaceuticals, muscle relaxants, medications for Parkinson’s Disease and antihistamines. Smoking and drinking alcohol can also lead to dry mouth, as these toxins can cause poor saliva production. Lastly, dehydration, in its many forms, leads to dry mouth. In fact, dry mouth is one of the earliest and most prevalent signs that you are dehydrated.

 

What Can I Do About Dry Mouth?

 

Luckily, dry mouth is generally a solvable problem. The first and best thing you can do to combat dry mouth is to get plenty of fluids. Make sure you are getting adequate amounts of water daily and consider cutting out things like caffeine, alcohol, and carbonated beverages, as they can make symptoms worse. Chewing sugar-free gum can also help increase saliva production. Finally, make sure to maintain generally good oral health by brushing and flossing frequently and visiting your dentist at least twice per year! If these tactics don’t work, Art of Modern Dentistry can help fix your dry mouth with specific recommendations at your next appointment.

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