Dry mouth or xerostomia is a condition where someone is unable to produce sufficient saliva to keep their mouth clean and comfortable. Saliva is essential for good dental health, washing away excess bacteria, food particles and old skin cells and reducing acidity in the mouth. If you do not have enough saliva then you are more at risk of tooth decay and gum disease as well as fungal infections such as oral thrush.
What Causes Dry Mouth?
It can be a side effect of aging or from taking certain medications. Health conditions including diabetes, Sjögren’s syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis can all increase the risk of xerostomia. Sometimes it can be caused by nerve damage to the head and neck area.
Reducing the Impact of Dry Mouth on Your Dental Health
If you do have dry mouth, then we can recommend preventative dental care treatments to reduce the impact to your dental health. You can buy over-the counter saliva substitutes or we can give you a prescription. Some people find it helpful to suck sugar-free gum or sweets to help stimulate saliva production and make sure you drink plenty of water and are always well hydrated. If you think a prescription medication might be the cause then have a talk with your GP to see if anything can be changed.