Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, is a common condition consisting of irritation caused by a reduced amount of saliva in the mouth. Although it is more likely with age, it is not a normal part of the aging process. Symptoms often arise in conjunction with another health problem.
Dry mouth is especially concerning for people with long-term dental concerns. A lack of saliva can make it more likely that your teeth will experience decay. Saliva is absolutely essential in neutralizing bacteria on the teeth. It also supports optimal pH balance within the mouth.
Although dry mouth can be uncomfortable, the symptoms can be controlled with proper care.
Four helpful approaches to reducing dry mouth symptoms include:
- Adjust Medication Dosage
For many people, dry mouth arises as a secondary symptom associated with medication. It may be possible for you to adjust dosage or frequency so dry mouth will disappear. Let your doctor know about your dry mouth symptoms and review the medications you may be taking.
- Chew Gum
Chewing gum naturally stimulates the production of saliva in the mouth. Sugarless gum is the best option for dental patients who wish to enhance saliva production. Ask your dentist about gums containing xylitol, which may inhibit bacterial colonisation of tooth enamel.
- Drink More Water
The more hydrated your body is, the easier it is for it to produce as much saliva as you need. Water is the most effective beverage for pure hydration. It’s especially important to drink plenty of water after exercise. In general, most people don’t get enough water!
- Avoid Dry Mouth Triggers
Certain foods and chemicals can make dry mouth worse. Caffeine and alcohol are both major culprits. Tobacco can also contribute to dry mouth. Antihistamines and decongestants you can buy over the counter may also temporarily make symptoms more noticeable.
If dry mouth symptoms are persistent, it’s a good idea to bring up the subject with your dentist. In many cases, a targeted program of lifestyle changes can resolve the symptoms. Medication is also available. Don’t wait: The better your mouth feels, the better you can feel, too.