If you notice that your mouth often feels dry, you might be suffering from a dry mouth condition called xerostomia. Dry mouth occurs when salivary glands do not produce normal saliva or certain oral and environmental conditions dry the mouth tissues too quickly.
Dry mouth is a common issue that affects 25% of adults and 86% of them daily. Chronic dry mouth can cause oral health issues such as an increased risk of gum disease & tooth decay. This condition can also contribute to mouth sores and a reduced sense of taste.
Think of saliva as your body’s own mouthwash. Without enough of it, you could be at higher risk for periodontal disease. Without the washing and moisturization benefits of healthy saliva flow, harmful bacteria can grow faster and stick more on your teeth and under your gums.
Finding relief for dry mouth is important for your oral health, which is why we have some tips to help:
- Stay Hydrated
Drinking plenty of water daily helps to prevent dehydration. Sipping water throughout the day also acts as a wash over your teeth and gums to help rinse food debris and bacteria from your mouth.
- Breath Through Your Nose
Mouth-breathing is a common reason your mouth can get dry. This can be caused by chronic allergies or sinus/nasal issues, which can be discussed with your medical provider.
If you do have allergies, try to avoid taking over-the-counter antihistamines & decongestants because they are common medications that dry your mouth.
- Try Sugar-free Candies & Gum
Your salivary glands are stimulated when you chew gum or use hard candies or lozenges. Just make sure that they are sugar-free, so you do not increase cavity risks.
- Avoid Alcohol & Caffeine
Both alcohol and caffeine can dry your mouth. So, choose alcohol-free mouthwash and limit beverages that have alcohol or caffeine.
- Go Smoke-free
Smoking can be a root cause of this condition. It is also the leading cause of periodontal disease. So, if you smoke, talk to your doctor or dentist for advice on smoking cessation programs.
- Use Saliva Supplements
Many over-the-counter products are available to help moisturize your mouth and relieve symptoms. Some items such as toothpaste, mouthwash, dry mouth lozenges, moisturizing gels & sprays, and saliva melts can be found in the dental section of your pharmacy and grocery store.
We always recommend that if you have dry mouth issues, you discuss it with your dental professionals so that they are aware that you are at higher risk for oral disease. Dental professionals can also provide you personalized recommendations at your regular visits.