Dry mouth is a condition in which the salivary glands don’t produce enough saliva to keep the mouth lubricated. Dry mouth can be caused by recreational drug use, tobacco and alcohol use, aging, certain medications, radiation therapy and other health conditions that affect the salivary glands. The signs and symptoms of dry mouth include: a sticky or dry feeling in your mouth or throat, difficultly chewing, tasting, speaking, and swallowing, bad breath, thick and stringy saliva, a dry tongue, mouth sores, cracked lips and a dry or sore throat. Having a problem producing saliva can also affect your overall dental health as saliva helps protect teeth from sugar, acid and bacteria that can cause cavities. Without salivation the risk of tooth decay, gum disease, a build-up of plaque and the inflammation of soft tissue increases. Saliva also helps enhance the ability to taste and aids it chewing and swallowing. Brushing regularly with a fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily and regular dental visits can help reduce the risks of potential dental problems associated with dry mouth. To treat dry mouth, you need to treat the cause, this may include: changing medication that causes dry mouth, over-the-counter saliva substitutes, frequently sipping on water, chewing super-free gum and using oral care products that will assist in moisturizing the mouth.
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