Dry mouth (also known as xerostomia) is a condition that prevents or slows the production of saliva. It is a chronic condition that is common but often overlooked.
The prevalence of dry mouth is unclear due to limited data.
A reduction in salivary flow can cause difficulties in tasting, chewing, swallowing and even speaking in more severe cases. Other signs and symptoms, may include:
Dry mouth can increase your chance of developing tooth decay, demineralization of teeth, tooth sensitivity and/or oral infections (such as thrush).
There are many causes of dry mouth, including:
In some cases dry mouth may be an indicator of Sjorgens syndrome. Sjorgens syndrome is a chronic auto-immune disorder in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own moisture producing glands, the tear secreting and salivary glands as well as order organs.
The severity of the dry mouth depends on the cause and varies in each case.
Saliva is the mouth's primary defence against tooth decay, it plays a vital role in maintaining the health of hard & soft tissues in the oral cavity.
Saliva washes away food and other debris, which may accumulate in the mouth. Saliva also helps neutralise the acids which are produced by bacteria in the mouth.
Without saliva, extensive tooth decay can occur.
Some general lifestyle tips for relieving dry mouth include:
Dental and oral health-specific recommendations are as follows for patients with dry mouth:
Please visit your dentist for advice about how to manage dry mouth.