Dry mouth is a condition that most people only experience infrequently. However, there are some people that suffer this condition on a regular basis, leading to ongoing physical side effects and some psychological stress that can impact their ability to communicate effectively in social situations.
Below we will look at 10 facts and 5 tips to help you deal with dry mouth.
Facts to Help Understand Dry Mouth
The medical name for dry mouth is xerostomia, and can be defined as a condition that disrupts the salivary flow to your mouth, causing a dry feeling.
Saliva is a necessary fluid to ensure healthy teeth, regular swallowing, and proper digestion.
The less saliva you have in your mouth, the more difficult it becomes to eat drier food. Saliva also has an impact on your ability to taste your food and lower amounts of saliva can lead to bad breath.
Dry mouth is commonly worse during the night. This is because the mouth naturally produces a smaller amount of saliva throughout the night.
Dry mouth can lead to dental issues including tooth decay and gum disease.
Dry mouth can be caused by old age, but is also frequently caused as a side effect of medications. A doctor, pharmacist, or even a dentist should be able to give you information on whether your medication can cause dry mouth.
There are some medical conditions that have been known to cause dry mouth, including diabetes, and lupus.
Women have a higher risk for chronic dry mouth at approximately 27% when compared to men at 21%.
Some studies have indicated that people who suffer from chronic dry mouth may also be at a higher risk for mental health issues.
Dry mouth is not currently a completely preventable condition, though steps can be taken to help avoid the risk of dry mouth.
Tips to Help Alleviate Dry Mouth
Regular dental check-ups can help avoid dental issues that may be caused by dry mouth. In addition, dentists may be able to assist with any questions you may have about medications, mouth wash, or other dental hygiene products that may be contributing to dry mouth.
When choosing a toothpaste, make sure that it has at least 1350 to 1500 parts per million of fluoride to help keep your mouth clean and healthy.
If you suffer from chronic dry mouth, look for products that are designed to keep your mouth moist. Many will come in gel or spray form and will likely include ingredients that will help to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
Sugar-free gum can help your mouth produce saliva as chewing sugar-free gum mimics the first stages of eating.
Drinking small amounts of water throughout the day can help your mouth to stay moist. Keep a water bottle filled up at all times and keep yourself hydrated.