Dry mouth: Xerostomia

Dry mouth, Xerostomia, is a condition where your mouth is unusually dry due to a decrease in saliva production. Signs and symptoms of dry mouth are dryness in your mouth or throat, sticky and stringy saliva, bad breath, difficulty chewing, speaking and swallowing, and problems wearing dentures. Having a dry mouth is uncomfortable and also increases the risk of gingivitis, tooth decay, and mouth infections.

Saliva is necessary to begin digesting food and is crucial to cleanse our mouths. Additionally, saliva controls the amount of oral bacteria and fungi in order to prevent infections. Saliva actually prevents tooth decay by neutralizing acids produced by bacteria.

Dry mouth is a common side effect of hundreds of prescription and nonprescription medications used to treat many conditions including depression, nerve pain, and anxiety. Antihistamines, decongestants, muscle relaxants and pain medications are known to cause dry mouth as well. Aging doesn’t necessarily cause dry mouth, however older people are much more likely to have health conditions and take medications that may cause dry mouth. Tobacco use may increase dry mouth symptoms. Cancer therapy and nerve damage can attribute to dry mouth as well.

Moisturizing your mouth is the best way to treat a dry mouth, so drink more water! Actually, alkaline water is especially good for treating Xerostomia. Dry mouths tend to be more acidic so drinking alkaline water will increase the pH to balance your oral environment. Another option is to use a variety of Biotene products. Biotene is a saliva substitute that also lubricates your mouth and stimulates production of your own natural saliva. Biotene products range from fluoride toothpastes to mouth rinses. Avoid alcoholic mouth-rinses, dry and salty foods, and drinks with high sugar content, as they will dry your mouth out even further. Drinking water throughout the day will keep your mouth moist and your body hydrated.