Difficulty swallowing, a fuzzy taste in your mouth – we all know that dry mouth feeling. Dry mouth, or Xerostomia, is a condition in which the mouth does not produce enough saliva resulting in an unusually dry mouth.
Our saliva works hard to rid our mouths of food particles and to dilute the acids that cause tooth decay. A dry mouth, especially if habitual, can mean more than minor discomfort – it can have a direct impact on your oral health.
What Causes Dry Mouth?
There are a number of causes for dry mouth, but one of the most common is medication. Many over the counter medications to treat cold and sinus symptoms often leave users with a dry mouth. Prescription drugs that treat other illnesses like overactive bladder, high blood pressure, and mental health problems can also cause dry mouth.
A less common cause of dry mouth is a condition called Sjogren’s syndrome, which is an autoimmune disorder in which white blood cells attack the body’s tear and salivary glands. Injuries to the head and neck that damage nerve cells can also cause dry mouth as your brain isn’t able to communicate with your salivary glands.
How You Can Treat Dry Mouth
We depend on our saliva to act as a natural cleanser for the mouth, dry mouth can cause many issues including: difficulty chewing and swallowing, bad breath and tooth decay. There are a number of things you can do alleviate the symptoms of dry mouth including:
- Chewing sugar-free gum or sucking on sugar-free candy
- Sipping water frequently to keep your mouth moist
- Drinking water or milk with meals to help with chewing and swallowing.
- Over-the-counter products that help relieve dry mouth symptoms
- Avoiding sugary, acidic, or caffeinated drinks.
- Seeing your dentist for regular cleanings and exams
If you’re suffering from chronic dry mouth, speak to your doctor or dentist.