That parched feeling in your mouth has a name – Xerostoma – a Greek word combining xero, dry, and stoma, mouth. Your chance of experiencing it increases with age, and 60% of all common medications can make it worse. Dry mouth can hinder eating and speaking, cause bad breath and cracked lips, and even result in cavities and gum disease.
Saliva is the wonder lubricant for your mouth. It furnishes your tooth enamel with minerals and reduces the risk of mouth sores and oral yeast infections.
Tell us or your doctor if you experience dry mouth. It can be a symptom of an autoimmune disease, stroke, nerve damage, or Alzheimers disease. Chemotherapy can cause dry mouth, but so can snoring, or just breathing through your mouth. Use of tobacco or methamphetamine can be a contributing factor.
- Protect your precious saliva by caring for your teeth and gums. Brushing, flossing, regular checkups – we can’t say too often how important they are.
- Don’t smoke. Limit alcoholic beverages, and avoid alcohol-containing mouthwash.
- Stimulate saliva flow with sugarless gum or candy. Avoid dry salty foods.
- Drink water throughout the day, and keep a glass by your bedside to sip if you awaken parched.