Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, occurs when your salivary glands don’t produce enough saliva. While most people experience this once in a while, when it becomes a chronic issue, it can lead to halitosis (bad breath), gum disease and tooth decay.
Here are six reasons you may be experiencing chronic dry mouth.
- Dehydration. Not drinking enough water doesn’t just cause dry mouth, it’s also bad for your health.
- Smoking. Smoking (or vaping) tobacco or marijuana products can impede your saliva production.
- Taking medication. Many medications list dry mouth as a side effect, notably prescription medications for ADD and over-the-counter antihistamines. Furthermore, some cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation, can slow down saliva production.
- Nerve damage. Trauma to the head and neck can damage the nerves involved in saliva production.
- Health conditions. People with certain health conditions, such as diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, or Sjogren’s syndrome are more likely to experience dry mouth than others.
- Snoring. If you wake up with a dry mouth most mornings, it’s likely due to snoring or breathing with your mouth open all night. If you think this is the cause of your xerostomia, it’s best to consult a sleep specialist.
Remedies for Dry Mouth
- Sip fluids throughout the day. Water is best, but anything that’s sugar free and not acidic will work.
- Quit smoking. It causes dry mouth and a whole host of other health issues.
- Change your medication. Talk to your doctor about switching to a medication that doesn’t list dry mouth as a side-effect.
- Chew sugar-free gum. Chewing helps to stimulate saliva production. Choose one that contains xylitol to help protect your teeth from decay.
- Practice impeccable oral hygiene. Because dry mouth puts you more at risk for oral health issues, it’s important to brush twice a day and floss daily without fail.
- Visit your dentist. Be sure to see your dentist twice a year for a thorough cleaning and oral exam. At the same time, you can talk to them about your dry mouth. They may suggest using a specially formulated mouthwash or prescribe a medication or rinse that can help.
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