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What is Dry Mouth, and How Can It Be Prevented?

Sunday - 01.15.2017

Everyone has experienced the feeling that their mouth is too dry. It happens when you're outside too long without a drink on a hot day, or when you have a cold that leaves you breathing out of your mouth instead of your nose. Usually, the sensation is temporary, easily alleviated when you get a drink or when the cold goes away. But for some people, the problem is longer-lasting and more difficult to resolve. The following is some information about dry mouth causes, complications, and how you can prevent this condition.

What Causes Dry Mouth?

Dry mouth can be a bigger problem than you think.
Feeling parched? Dry mouth can be a bigger problem than you think.

Dry mouth can be caused by any number of things, including certain medications. This is especially true of inhaled medications, such as asthma inhalers However, painkillers, decongestants, and depression medications can also cause dry mouth.

Dry mouth can also be a sign of a medical condition. Diabetes, depression, Parkinson's disease, and certain autoimmune disorders are often accompanied by dry mouth. If you're a smoker, you may also experience dry mouth frequently. Simple dehydration can also be a common cause for dry mouth.

What Problems Can Dry Mouth Cause?

No matter what is causing your dry mouth, it's important to find a way to address the issue. Occasional dry mouth may be just an aggravation, but if it's become a common occurrence for you, it can be a lot more than a simple annoyance.

Frequent dry mouth puts you at risk of tooth decay and gum disease. The saliva in your mouth serves a purpose -- it's constantly washing away bacteria and food particles that can lead to disease and decay. If you don't have enough saliva in your mouth, then you're more likely to develop cavities or infections. If you suffer from dry mouth, you're also more likely to experience sore throats and a hoarse voice, difficulty swallowing or chewing, and even fungal mouth infections, like thrush.

How to Prevent Dry Mouth

Staying hydrated is an important part of preventing dry mouth.
Staying hydrated is an important part of preventing dry mouth.

Dry mouth may be more serious than you first thought, but it's also often preventable. One of the most important things that you can do is increase your water intake. Dehydration can cause or exacerbate all kinds of medical conditions, so swapping your soda or coffee for water can improve your health in all kinds of ways, while ensuring that you have the necessary hydration to create enough saliva.

You can also try chewing sugarless gum or mints that are sweetened with xylitol. Xylitol stimulates saliva production and won't increase your risk of cavities. It's also a good idea to talk to your doctor if you're experiencing frequent dry mouth. Your doctor may be able to change your medications, if one of them is causing your dry mouth. They may also recommend a product that will help increase saliva production in your mouth.

Your dentist is a great source of information about preventing and alleviating dry mouth. To make an appointment, contact us today.

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Topics: Blog, Oral Hygiene