A dry mouth can cause much frustration and pain for those suffering from it, since your saliva is important for chewing, tasting, swallowing and speaking. Because saliva also contains enzymes that protect your teeth, dry mouth leads to an increased risk of cavities and other oral health problems such as bad breath. For those wearing dentures, a dry mouth can also affect the stability of the dentures, since saliva normally works as a natural adhesive.
There are many reasons why people suffer from dry mouth. Among the most common are:
- Medicine: Many kinds of medicine have dry mouth as a side effect – e.g. diuretics, anti-depressives and muscle relaxants.
- Depression, anxiety and nervousness often result in dry mouth.
- Snoring at night or breathing through your mouth during the day dries out your mouth.
- Ageing: Dry mouth often occurs naturally as you grow older.
- De-hydration: Dry mouth can be a sign that you’re not drinking enough fluid.
Some of the most popular advice for relieving problems caused by dry mouth are:
- Make sure to brush your teeth after each meal in order to protect your teeth from caries.
- Regular check-ups: Visit your dentist or dental hygienist often (e.g. every 3 months) for a check-up.
Stimulating saliva flow:
- Chewing gum: Chewing gum increases your saliva flow. Just make sure the gum is SUGAR FREE. Some kinds of chewing gum even contain fluoride for extra protection.
- Eat fresh pineapple or use a little lemon juice or vinegar on your food.
- Drink fruit juice or water containing fresh lemon juice. When eating or drinking sour foods, make sure to rinse with water afterwards in order to protect your teeth from the acid.
Keep you mouth from drying out:
- Always carry a bottle or a glass of water, so you can rinse your mouth often,
- Drink a thin oatmeal soup.
- Use artificial saliva or OraMoist Dry Mouth Patch.
- Ask at your local farmacy for other remedies against dry mouth.
- Smoking – tobacco dries out the mucous membranes.
- Eating sour foods between meals in order to protect your teeth from the acid.
If you think your medicine might be the cause of your dry mouth, try speaking to your doctor about a possible change in medication. If there is nothing to be done about the causes of your dry mouth, mention the problem to your dentist or dental hygienist. They will be more than happy to give you advice.