What is Dry Mouth?
Dry mouth is the condition of not having enough saliva (spit) to keep your mouth wet. The technical term for dry mouth is xerostomia. Everyone has a dry mouth once in a while, if they are:
- under stress
Dry mouth is not a normal part of aging. If you have a dry mouth all or most of the time, it can be uncomfortable and can lead to serious health problems. If you think you have dry mouth, see your dentist or doctor, there are things you can do to get relief.
Dry mouth is more than uncomfortable
- Dry mouth can be a sign of certain diseases or conditions, such as Sjogren's syndrome
- Dry mouth can cause difficulties in tasting, chewing, swallowing, and speaking
- Dry mouth can increase your chance of developing dental decay and other mouth infections
- Dry mouth can be caused by certain drugs or medical treatments
Why is Saliva So Important?
Saliva does more than keep the mouth wet:
- It helps digest food
- It protects teeth from decay
- It prevents infection by controlling bacteria and fungi in the mouth
- It makes it possible for you to chew and swallow
- Without enough saliva you can develop tooth decay or other mouth infections.
You also might not get the nutrients you need if you cannot chew and swallow certain foods.
Dry mouth symptoms
Dry mouth symptoms include:
- a sticky, dry feeling in the mouth
- trouble chewing, swallowing, tasting, or speaking
- a burning feeling in the mouth
- a dry feeling in the throat
- cracked lips
- a dry, tough tongue
- mouth sores
- mouth infections