What is Dry Mouth

Reduced saliva flow results in dry mouth and is often seen in older adults. The salivary glands help keep your mouth moist, which helps prevent decay and other oral health problems.

Dry mouth may be a sign of a medical condition. It also can be caused by stress, aging, radiation therapy and chemotherapy, as a side-effect of certain medications, or diseases such as AIDS, diabetes or Sjogren’s Syndrome.

Consequences of Dry Mouth

Dry mouth may result in sore throat, difficulty in talking, chewing or swallowing, burning sensation or hoarseness. It also allows plaque to build up on your teeth faster, and does not wash away the harmful bacterial products as effectively, leading to more extensive decay.

Sjogren’s Syndrome

Sjogren’s Syndrome is an autoimmune disease that causes the body to attack its own glands and may affect the salivary as well as sweat glands and lacrimal glands in the eye. Approximately 2-4 million Americans have this condition. The majority of sufferers are women in their late 40s.

Sjogren’s Syndrome is difficult to diagnose because symptoms vary greatly and often mimic the signs of aging. Patients may experience dryness in the eyes and mouth as well as fatigue and joint pain.

Dry Mouth Treatments

There are many treatments that can help ease the symptoms, but a true cure is more difficult to achieve and the focus is usually on making the patient more comfortable:

  • Brush and floss twice a day – keeping the teeth clean help prevent decay and gum disease
  • Chewing sugarfree candy or gum may stimulate saliva flow
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine
  • Avoid smoking
  • Avoid dry foods, such as toast or crackers
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Use over-the-counter artificial saliva replacements
  • Visit your dentist regularly

This article is

Medically Reviewed by 

Dr. Smita Warrier

Dr. Smita Warrier graduated dental school in 2004 from Tufts University in Boston. She relocated to Charlotte shortly after and started her practice in Ballantyne in 2007. She is very passionate about dentistry and providing top-notch care to her patients. 

She is a member of the American Dental Association as well as local and state dental organizations. She feels very strongly about staying abreast of the latest technologies and treatment care modalities and dedicates many hours in continuing education. 

She has been an Invisalign certified provider since 2006.

16143 Lancaster Highway,
Suite 101
Charlotte, NC – 28277

704 544 5500

Mon – Thu: 8am – 4:30pm
Friday: By Appointment
Sat – Sun: Closed

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