Dry Mouth

Understanding the Implications of Dry Mouth and Its Remedies

Explore the underlying causes, implications, and effective remedies for dry mouth, a common but often overlooked condition impacting oral health.

Xerostomia, also known as dry mouth, occurs when there is a decreased flow of saliva. It’s not a disease in itself but rather a symptom indicative of medical conditions or arising as a side effect of numerous medications like antihistamines, decongestants, pain relievers, diuretics, among others.

Saliva acts as the primary protector of the mouth, defending against tooth decay and preserving the health of the mouth’s soft and hard tissues. It cleanses the mouth of food and other remnants, counterbalances acids formed by bacteria, and disseminates substances that combat diseases across the mouth, serving as an initial guard against microbial intrusions or excessive proliferation that could lead to illnesses.

A dry mouth is often related to several complications including persistent sore throat, a burning feeling, difficulty in talking and swallowing, hoarseness, or dryness in the nasal passages. Sometimes, it can signify the presence of Sjögren’s syndrome, a lasting autoimmune disorder where the body’s immune system incorrectly targets its moisture-producing glands, like the tear and salivary glands, and can affect other organs.

In the absence of adequate saliva, severe tooth decay can also develop. Dentists can suggest various solutions to replenish moisture. Chewing sugar-free gum or candy can stimulate the production of saliva, and synthetic saliva and mouthwashes can substitute for natural saliva. To safely and effectively alleviate symptoms of dry mouth, seek products that have received the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

For further details, please refer to the Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation.