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Dry Mouth: What You Need to Know

Dry mouth is one of the most common causes of bad breath, but it can cause other oral health issues and even be a symptom of a more serious underlying medical condition. It’s also uncomfortable—dry mouth can cause sore throats, cracked lips, and thirst. The good news is that there are many potential solutions for dry mouth and most are simple home remedies.

Why Dry Mouth Matters

While everyone has bad breath once in a while, it can be embarrassing—particularly when you feel like you always have it. The saliva in your mouth helps wash away food debris and bacteria throughout the day; when there’s insufficient saliva to perform this function, the bacteria and debris can begin to cause halitosis. 

When this debris and bacteria, otherwise known as plaque, begins to form a coating on your teeth, it can set the stage for tooth decay and gum disease. This is why it’s important to treat dry mouth and not write it off as a minor inconvenience. If you’re concerned about bad breath or dry mouth, please let us know during your next dental exam and cleaning.

Causes of Dry Mouth

There are many reasons why you might have dry mouth. By resolving any underlying conditions or breaking bad habits that cause dry mouth, you can remedy the problem. Some of the most common causes of dry mouth are:

  • Dehydration
  • Smoking
  • Certain medications
  • Allergies or other conditions which cause you to breathe through your mouth
  • Radiation therapy
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Alcohol and caffeine
  • Diabetes
  • Thrush
  • Aging

While you can stop smoking or limit your alcohol consumption, you can’t always change your medications or resolve your allergies. When the root cause of dry mouth cannot be easily fixed, there are many simple methods to relieve the symptoms.

The Best Ways to Prevent Dry Mouth

The most effective and simplest way to alleviate dry mouth is to drink more water. Bring a water bottle with you wherever you go and sip from it frequently. Don’t use tea, juice, or other liquids as a substitute—water is best.

If your mouthwash has alcohol in it, switch it out for an alcohol-free formula. Or, even better, use a mouthwash specifically made for dry mouth. Limit your alcohol and caffeine consumption, as both are dehydrating, and stop smoking. 

When you can’t sip on water, use sugarless gum or lozenges to stimulate saliva production in the mouth. Don’t use gum or hard candies that are made with sugar, as this can cause tooth decay. 

If home treatments prove to be ineffective, there are some medications that can increase saliva production and even artificial saliva products. In most cases, though, simply drinking more water throughout the day does wonders, unless there is a serious underlying medical reason for your dry mouth.

Learn More About Dry Mouth

If you’re experiencing the discomfort of dry mouth, make an appointment with Imperial Dental Associates today. Contact us at 203-227-2520 for a consultation with Dr. Geni.