Dental Health

Mouth feeling dry? Here’s how to cope.

Did you know that a dry mouth can increase your risk of tooth decay, gingivitis and mouth infections? Saliva plays a key role in washing away food and bacteria that can cause infection, and it also helps keep your mouth comfortable.

Dry mouth has a number of causes, including dehydration, chewing tobacco and smoking. It can also be a side effect of certain diseases or of taking certain medications. Speak with your physician about the side effects of your medications as there may be alternative medicines that do not cause dry mouth. Your mouth can also become dry if you tend to breathe with your mouth open.

You may notice certain symptoms if your mouth is dry, including bad breath, a “sticky” feeling in your mouth, constant thirst, a dry tongue or mouth sores.

What should you do if your mouth is dry? Here are some strategies to try:

  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids
  • Suck on sugar-free candy or chew sugar-free gum
  • Use alcohol-free mouthwash to address bad breath without drying out your mouth
  • Ask your dentist about mouth moisteners