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Experiencing a Dry Mouth? Here’s How You Can Help

What Is a Dry Mouth? 

Dry mouth reduces salivary flow in the mouth, which can range from mild to severe. Dry mouth can result from less saliva production or due to a malfunction of the salivary glands. The main salivary glands are in the cheeks and underneath the tongue.

What Causes a Dry Mouth? 

There are many causes of dry mouth. The main culprits for dry mouth are ageing, certain lifestyle habits such as smoking and consumption of alcohol, dehydration, certain medications such as antihistamines, antidepressants and cholesterol and blood pressure medications, radiation to the head and neck from cancer treatment and certain medical conditions such as diabetes, cystic fibrosis, Sjogren’s syndrome, HIV/AIDS and rheumatoid arthritis. 

What Are The Symptoms of a Dry Mouth?

Symptoms associated with a dry mouth are a sticky, dry feeling in the mouth, chapped lips, sores or cracks in the soft tissues of the mouth and lips, frequent thirst, difficulty speaking, eating and swallowing and a burning or tingling sensation in the mouth.  

What Can A Dry Mouth Lead to? 

Experiencing a dry mouth can be quite uncomfortable and challenging to live with, and it can also lead to more sinister problems over time. Saliva aids in clearing food and bacteria away from the teeth and gums, reducing the presence of cavities and gum disease. Without the help of saliva, bacteria are more likely to sit on the teeth and gums, leading to a higher risk of cavities and gum disease. 

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How Can You Improve Your Dry Mouth? 

The treatment for dry mouth is based on the cause, and in some cases, is just about managing the symptoms. Essential tips for reducing dry mouth are: 

  • Reducing the consumption of alcohol
  • Cutting back on smoking 
  • Staying hydrated 
  • Using an alcohol-free mouthwash 
  • Using salivary substitute products such as gum, lozenges and mouthwash 
  • Sucking on sugar-free candies or mints 
  • Breathing through your nose instead of breathing through your mouth
  • Switching/ adjusting the dosage of medications that are causing dry mouth (make sure to talk with your doctor first) 

If you have any questions about the dry mouth or believe you may be experiencing it and would like to discuss treatment options, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment. 

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