Ask a Dentist

June 18, 2021

Q: How do I deal with dry mouth?

Several cotton balls positioned on a table.

Have you ever wondered, “Why is my mouth so dry?” Maybe you have trouble speaking, swallowing or eating because of that cottony feeling in your mouth. But why? What causes this feeling? A lack of saliva can cause a condition known as dry mouth.

Dry mouth is uncomfortable to experience but fortunately, treating it is possible and you don’t have to do it on your own. Our dental professionals at Dental Image Therapy Centres are ready to provide you with the most up-to-date and effective treatment options you need to relieve your dry mouth.

How Does Saliva Come Into Play?

Also known as xerostomia, dry mouth occurs when the salivary glands in the mouth don't make enough saliva to keep your mouth wet.

Saliva allows you to swallow and taste while keeping your teeth strong. Without it, chewing and swallowing would not only be difficult but dangerous as well. And yet, it doesn’t get as much attention as it should.

Saliva and its numerous components help:

  • Start the digestion process
  • Wash away bacteria and food particles off your teeth
  • Neutralize the harmful acids bacteria and food produces
  • Repair and remineralize weak tooth enamel

With decreased saliva, plaque and bacteria can build up quickly at the base of your teeth, making you more susceptible to other dental health issues like bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease. Not only that, dry mouth might lead to mouth sores and oral candidiasis, a yeast infection, along with a condition called burning mouth syndrome.

Your salivary glands may not work well due to several factors like medications, tobacco and alcohol use, cancer therapy, nerve damage and aging. If you are over 70 years old and are experiencing dry mouth, check out this Ask A Dentist post to find out why.

Tips For Controlling Dry Mouth

It’s crucial to keep in mind that since dry mouth can lead to other dental problems, it’s important to stop it in its tracks or prevent it from happening in the first place. We’re here to provide a wealth of tips to help relieve your dry mouth.

Some home remedies you can take to prevent or treat dry mouth include:

  • Chewing sugar-free gum or sucking on sugar-free candies to stimulate the flow of saliva. 
  • Limiting your caffeine intake because caffeine can make your mouth drier.
  • Avoiding mouthwashes that contain alcohol because they can be drying.
  • Avoiding tobacco products and other recreational drugs.
  • Sipping on water regularly.
  • Trying a mouthwash designed for dry mouth — especially one that contains xylitol.
  • Breathing through your nose, not your mouth.
  • Adding moisture to the air at night with a room humidifier.

How Will Your Dentist Treat Dry Mouth?

If your symptoms persist, your dentist may prescribe medication that stimulates saliva production. Our dentists at Dental Image Therapy Centres, located in Garden City Shopping Centre and St. Vital Centre, will help you get back to enjoying your favourite foods with a confident smile.

Book a consultation at one of our clinics today to learn more about the cause of your dry mouth and how to avoid it in the future.

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