We all suffer from a dry mouth from time to time, but for some people the condition is more long-lasting. Xerostomia is a condition where the mouth becomes very dry and can make people more susceptible to dental problems such as tooth decay, gum disease, bad breath or cause problems for denture wearers.
There are lots of different reasons why people get dry mouth, and there are things that you can do both to ease the condition and help prevent problems with your teeth.
Some prescription drugs and medicines can cause dry mouth as a side effect, especially treatments for depression and high blood pressure. Also, certain medical conditions affect the salivary glands, so they don’t produce as much saliva and the mouth tends to be more dry.
Xerostomia can lead to dryness, a burning or sore feeling in the mouth or a bad taste. You may also have difficulty swallowing and speaking. If you wear dentures, you may find they become loose and cause sore areas.
Making sure you don’t get dehydrated by drinking plenty of fluids can help. We can prescribe artificial saliva which comes as a spray to help moisten the mouth. Talk to your doctor about the medicines you take to see if there are suitable alternatives less likely to cause dry mouth. Some people find sucking sweets, or chewing gum helps produce more saliva, but take special care that these don’t contain sugar as this could cause more tooth decay.