Dry mouth, known medically as xerostomia, occurs when you don’t have enough saliva in your mouth. This can be caused by stress, but constant dry mouth is often a signal for an underlying disease or condition.
Other causes of dry mouth include:
- Cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation of the head or neck
- Hormone changes, such as those that occur during pregnancy or menopause
- Health problems, such as HIV/AIDS and diabetes
- Snoring or open-mouthed breathing
Dry mouth may make it difficult to speak, chew, swallow, and may alter the taste of your food. It can also cause a sore throat, hoarseness, and bad breath. Most seriously, however, dry mouth can lead to tooth decay. Your saliva helps to re-strengthen your tooth enamel after eating and drinking, so a lack of saliva can result in weaker tooth enamel, which, in turn, can lead to tooth decay.
If you suffer from dry mouth, try the following tips:
- Sip water or sugarless drinks, or suck (don’t bite) on ice chips.
- Avoid irritants, such as alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine. Remember that caffeine is found in many sodas, as well as in coffee and tea.
- Chew sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free candy.
- Avoid salty or spicy foods.
- Use a humidifier in your bedroom at night.
- Consider using saliva substitutes.
Dr. Ryan Hussong, a comprehensive care dentist in Polk City, Iowa, can effectively treat dry mouth and other oral conditions at his state-of-the-art dental office. Call Cornerstone Dental at (515) 984-6001 to reserve your appointment.