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Dry mouth (xerostomia) is common in the population and can result from different causes. The mouth is supplied with saliva by salivary glands. Sometimes the glands may be damaged or diseased, or the glands can be normal, but the rate at which saliva is produced is low. Dry mouth may also occur with several illnesses such as diabetes, stress or depression. It may also occur following radiotherapy to the neck and head. By far the most common reason for experiencing a dry mouth is as a side-effect of prescribed medicines.

The most commonly prescribed medicines that cause a dry mouth are tablets which are used in the treatment of high blood pressure. The second most common are those which are used to treat anxiety and depression, and antihistamines taken for treatment of allergies hay fever. In younger people, inhalers used to treat asthma may also cause a dry mouth.

A dry mouth can be uncomfortable and can make it more difficult to eat. One of the functions of saliva is to help prevent tooth decay and gum disease so if you have a dry mouth you will have a higher risk of getting these diseases. It is especially important for those who suffer from a dry mouth:

  • To avoid having sugary snacks and sweets
  • To keep teeth very clean
  • To visit a dentist regularly. Do not miss your check up appointment
  • Use a fluoride mouthwash or an antibacterial mouthwash such as chlorhexidine (available from pharmacies) not use a mouthwash containing alcohol as this will further dry out the mouth

There is an increased risk of developing thrush in the mouth if the sufferer wears dentures . In order to avoid this it is important always to take the dentures out at night and clean them daily. Occasionally It may be necessary for the dentist or doctor to prescribe a medication to treat or prevent oral thrush.

The flow of saliva can be increased by chewing gum or sucking a sweet if there is some salivary gland function but the gum or sweets should be sugar-free.

If you suffer from a dry mouth, you will find it helpful to take sips of water while eating and sips of water throughout the day may help to keep the mouth feel more comfortable

There are a number of saliva substitutes that may be bought from your pharmacy or prescribed by a dentist or doctor. Other saliva stimulants are available; these are mainly tablets, pastilles which you suck, gels or sprays, . If you suffer from a dry mouth please make an appointment at Dental fx and one of our Dental Surgeons will examine you are take the appropriate action.

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