Millions of people suffer from some form of dry mouth (Xerostemia) on an occasional or chronic basis. If you suffer from dry mouth symptoms it could simply be that you’re not producing enough saliva, which is vital to your oral health.
Saliva provides 3 important functions in your oral environment:
- Produces enzymes to help with digestion of food
- Stabilizes pH and maintains acceptable acid levels
- Provides high levels of oxygen to keep oral tissues healthy and fresh
A dry mouth environment has a low saliva level, a low oxygen level and probably a higher acid level. This is a perfect breeding ground for the sulfur-producing bacteria that cause bad breath and bad tastes which is why dry mouth is often compounded by these additional conditions. Production of oxygen rich saliva is the key to the prevention and treatment of dry mouth.
Below are a few tips on maintaining a sufficient level of saliva to prevent dry mouth.
- Use sugar free lozenges or gum designed to stimulate saliva production.
- Do not use mouthwashes that contain alcohol. Alcohol is a drying agent.
- Use an alcohol free mouthwash that promotes saliva production and is non-acidic.
- Do not use toothpastes that contain sodium lauryl sulfate. It is a detergent and it only makes dry mouth worse.
- Avoid caffeine as it can cause dry mouth.
- Do not smoke or chew tobacco.
- Drink 8 glasses of water per day.
If following these simple suggestions does not improve your dry mouth, you should talk to your doctor or dentist. There are many other possible causes of dry mouth including your age, certain medications, gum disease, hormone imbalances and rheumatoid arthritis to name a few. These types of health issues should be diagnosed and addressed by your doctor or dentist.