Dry mouth —also called xerostomia, results from an inadequate flow of saliva. It is not a disease, but a very uncomfortable symptom of a medical disorder or a side effect of certain medications.
According to Mayo Clinic, saliva helps prevent tooth decay by neutralizing acids produced by bacteria, limiting bacterial growth and washing away food particles. Saliva also enhances your ability to taste and makes it easier to chew and swallow. In addition, enzymes in saliva aid in digestion.
Decreased saliva and xerostomia can range from being merely a nuisance to something that has a major impact on your general health and the health of your teeth and gums, as well as your appetite and enjoyment of food.
Treatment for xerostomia depends on the cause.
According to Healthline Home care tips for dry mouth
Dry mouth is usually a temporary and treatable condition. In most cases, you can prevent and relieve symptoms of dry mouth at home by doing one or more of the following:
- sipping water often
- sucking on ice cubes
- avoiding alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco
- limiting your salt and sugar intake
- using a humidifier in your bedroom when you sleep
- taking over-the-counter saliva substitutes
- chewing sugarless gum or sucking on sugarless hard candy
- using over-the-counter toothpastes, rinses, and mints
It’s also important to brush and floss your teeth daily and to get a dental checkup twice per year. Good oral care can help prevent tooth decay and gum disease, which can result from dry mouth.
If your dry mouth is caused by an underlying health condition, you may require additional treatment. Ask your doctor for more information about your specific condition, treatment options, and long-term outlook.
Products & Services
Everyone has a dry mouth once in a while – sometimes, you might be nervous, upset, or under stress, which is all very normal and natural. But if you have a xerostomia most of the time or just at night, it may have serious consequences. We encourage you to visit your dental and medical professionals, or ask the community here, and find out what options might be available to help your xerostomia.