Dry Mouth Syndrome is a common health issue that results from a lack of saliva – which is critical to your oral health. Why? Because saliva produces several enzymes that help you digest food and keep bacteria in your mouth in check. Sometimes, dry mouth exists side by side with mucositis and stomatitis, both of which involve inflammation of the soft tissues in the mouth. Unfortunately, you can experience problems with your teeth if you suffer from chronic dry mouth. Without the action of saliva, tooth decay becomes much more progressive.
- When you suffer from chronic dry mouth, the skin around your mouth and lips is dry and tight. Your lips may crack and your tongue may feel rough and dry; the corners of your mouth may also crack.
- Dry mouth may make your voice harsh and you may have a constant tickle in your throat.
- You may also experience difficulty wearing dentures, have a metallic or bitter taste in your mouth, have chronic bad breath, and experience difficulty speaking, swallowing or eating.
- Your symptoms may worsen at night because saliva flow normally decreases with sleep.
Some contributing factors are:
- Advancing age
- Mouth breathing
- Use of certain medications such as antihistamines and some antidepressants
- Smoking or using smokeless tobacco
- Autoimmune conditions like HIV or Sjögren’s Syndrome
What are some things that can help?
- Get twice-yearly dental check-ups
- Brush and floss daily
- Use an alcohol-free mouthwash
- Sip water throughout the day
- Suck on sugar-free candy or gum