Extreme dry mouth is not just uncomfortable; it can also put you at risk for oral health problems such as tooth decay and gingivitis. Normally, the saliva in your mouth washes away food particles, neutralizes acids that can attack tooth enamel and helps control the bacteria in your mouth. With dry mouth, or xerostomia, there is not enough saliva to protect your teeth and gums from bacteria. You may notice problems with bad breath, sore throats and difficultly speaking or swallowing. What can you do to relieve the dryness and put your oral health back on track?
Determining the Cause
The only way to get rid of dry mouth is to address the cause, reports the American Dental Association. A temporary dry, sticky feeling is usually not a cause for concern - it may be that your mouth is dry because you are nervous or need to drink more fluids. When dryness is a chronic, extreme problem, it is often a side effect of medications or an illness that affects the salivary glands, like Hodgkin's disease or diabetes. It can also be the result of hormonal changes that occur during menopause. If you experience extreme dry mouth, see your doctor to determine what may be triggering it. They may be able to change your medication or offer a new one if need be. You can then talk to your doctor or dentist about what remedies are most suitable for relieving your symptoms.
Mouth Moisturizing Solutions
Here are some things you can do to help relieve dryness and to keep your mouth healthy:
- Chew sugarless gum or suck on sugarless hard candy to stimulate saliva flow.
- Sip on water throughout the day.
- Cut back on caffeine, tobacco and alcohol, which can cause dehydration.
- Ask your dentist about using an artificial saliva spray.
- Try to breathe through your nose instead of your mouth.
- See your dentist for a prescription for Colgate® PreviDent® 5000 Dry Mouth toothpaste which will strengthen the teeth with fluoride and help to remineralize the root surface and less likely to cause dryness in the mouth.
Because a lack of saliva makes your mouth more susceptible to decay and disease, taking good care of your teeth and gums is essential. Brush your teeth in the morning and evening to help reduce mouth germs and fight plaque. Flossing daily is also essential for removing plaque and food particles from between your teeth and under the gum line. Visit your dentist regularly. They can help you manage dry mouth, but also examine your mouth for early signs of tooth decay and gum disease.