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What causes dry mouth?

Dry mouth is a problem for lots of people. It is a result of reduced saliva production, and can be caused by a number of things:

  • Medications such as those prescribed for depression, allergies, and hypertension
  • Medical conditions including diabetes and hypertension
  • Chemotherapy treatments
  • Dehydration
  • Smoking or chewing tobacco

Dry mouth is a nuisance, but it is also a problem because it creates the perfect conditions for periodontal disease to develop. Saliva is important because it helps you chew and swallow, fights germs and prevents bad breath. It also contains proteins and minerals that prevent decay and protect your tooth enamel.  

Periodontal disease is a particular concern when you have dry mouth. Saliva is nature’s mouth rinse, and helps carry away food particles that would otherwise linger on your teeth. With dry mouth, you have a greater risk of developing periodontal disease.

There is no way to prevent dry mouth, but there are steps you can take to reduce its unwanted side effects. If you’re taking medication, check with your doctor about switching to a different drug that won’t cause dry mouth. Using an oral rinse, chewing sugar-free gum, drinking lots of water, and using an oral rinse can help to stimulate production of saliva.

If you would like more information about causes and treatments for dry mouth, please contact our Winter Park dental office.