Dry mouth

Dry Mouth

We all have a dry mouth occasionally. But if it persists, you should speak to a professional to see what’s the cause.

Dry mouth (aka cottonmouth) is a condition where you don’t have enough saliva to keep your mouth moist. Most of us have experienced a dry mouth, especially if we are nervous or stressed. You may need to see a professional if you have this condition more often, though.

Saliva is critical — it’s not just there to make us comfortable. We need saliva to protect our teeth from decay, prevent mouth infections and make it possible to chew and swallow. Without treatment, a dry mouth can allow more severe conditions to develop — or go undetected.

How will I know if I have a dry mouth?

  • Dry, sticky feeling in the mouth

  • Difficulty swallowing

  • Dry throat

  • Burning sensation on the tongue

  • Difficulty talking or chewing

  • Cracked lips

  • Mouth sores

  • Diminished ability to taste food

  • Metallic taste in the mouth

  • Bad breath

Reasons for a dry mouth

We may not have enough saliva for a variety of reasons, such as:

  • Medication: Over 400 medications can cause dry mouth, including painkillers, antihistamines, antidepressants, decongestants, diuretics and high blood pressure medication

  • Disease: Various diseases affect the salivary glands, such as Parkinson’s disease, Hodgkins, diabetes, Sjogren’s syndrome and HIV/AIDS.

  • Chemotherapy: Cancer drugs may make saliva thicker, causing your mouth to feel dry

  • Radiation therapy:  If your head and neck are exposed to radiation during treatment, the salivary glands may be damaged.

  • Menopause: A change in hormone levels may affect the salivary glands, leaving menopausal and postmenopausal women with a constant dry mouth.

How to treat a dry mouth

Dry mouth is a condition, not a disease, and many things may cause it. To stop a dry mouth, you need to treat the underlying condition.

Until you can treat the underlying condition or have a disease or medications that cannot change, you can restore moisture in your mouth in the following ways:

  • Chew sugar-free gum is or sugarless hard candy to immolate saliva flow

  • Sip water or sugarless drinks often

  • Avoid tobacco or alcohol as they both dry the mouth

  • Avoid caffeinated beverages and sodas, which can cause dryness in the mouth

  • Use a humidifier at night while sleeping

Talk to us about your oral health concerns today. We’re conveniently located right in the heart of Leederville.