Dry mouth, or xerstomia, is a condition in which the saliva production by the glands in your mouth decreases, leaving your mouth unusually dry. Most of the time, it’s caused by an external factor, such as medication, but in rare situations, dry mouth may be caused by an issue with the salivary glands themselves. This common problem can range from being a slight nuisance to something that has a major impact on your daily life and general health. Saliva is crucial in your ability to taste and swallow, and contains enzymes that aid in digestion. It also helps prevent tooth decay by neutralizing acids produced by bacteria, limiting bacterial growth and washing away food particles. In essence, spit plays a pretty pivotal role in your oral and overall health.
If you are experiencing dry mouth, the first step you should take is to visit your dentist and discuss the issue. You’ll want to rule out a major health condition before blowing it off. The most common cause of dry mouth is the regular use of medication though, and if this is your problem, there are steps you can take to remedy it. The following advice to reduce dry mouth was found in a recent Fox News article.
In order to avoid dry mouth, steer clear from:
- Alcohol-based mouthwashes and other oral products
- Caffeinated beverages
- Acidic, sugary foods
- Tobacco products
To stimulate saliva production:
- Use mouthwashes designed to treat dry mouth
- Chew sugar-free gums or candies
- Sleep with a humidifier
- Sip water throughout the day
- Use products that contain xylitol
If after trying these simple steps your dry mouth continues or worsens, seek attention from your dentist or physician, as this is an indication that a larger, often more serious, health condition is at play.