Does your mouth feel dry and sore and your saliva seem thick and stringy? Do you sometimes find it difficult to speak, chew and swallow as a result? If this is the case, you may be encountering dry mouth.
What are the causes of dry mouth?
Dry mouth is a result of reduced saliva flow which can be caused by many factors.
- Dehydration: this is the main cause of dry mouth.
- Medication: particularly some blood pressure medications, antidepressants, antipsychotics and antibiotics.
- Drinking lots of alcohol, tea or coffee
- Cancer treatment
- Medical conditions: Diabetes and Sjogren’s syndrome
Why is saliva important?
Saliva is extremely important for our day to day functioning. It acts as a lubricant to help us speak, chew and swallow; it protects our teeth from decay, and it protects our mouth from infections.
So what can we do if we encounter dry mouth?
Simple home remedies for dry mouth include
- Drinking more water
- Avoiding smoking and alcohol
You can also help to stimulate saliva flow by chewing sugar-free gum.
Avoiding tooth decay whilst having a dry mouth may require additional steps such as
- Reducing sugar consumption
- Brushing and flossing regularly
- Using a high fluoride toothpaste.
However, if you notice that this dry mouth is an ongoing issue, it is best to see your doctor or dentist. They will be able to assess your mouth and come up with a tailored plan to help you.