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  • Writer's pictureFarmington Dental Care

How to Relieve Dry Mouth, With Your Family & General Dentist in Beaverton, OR


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Have you ever done the saltine cracker challenge? If you have, you know that it makes your mouth extremely and intensely dry, making it hard for you to swallow, taste, and even speak. Now, imagine living with dry mouth on a daily basis. Chronic dry mouth isn’t just an uncomfortable sensation – if left untreated, dry mouth can cause serious oral health issues.




What is Dry Mouth?

Dry mouth (xerostomia) is a condition in which a person’s salivary glands do not produce enough saliva, leaving the mouth chronically dry. 


Dry mouth can be a very unpleasant sensation which – besides making speaking, tasting, eating and swallowing more difficult – can cause a host of oral health issues. Why? Because saliva is very important for optimal oral health and balance! Saliva keeps the mouth hydrated for comfort, aids in chewing and digestion, neutralizes harmful acids, helps rinse away food debris and bacteria, helps prevent bad breath, constantly remineralizes tooth enamel, protects against tooth decay and gum disease, quickens wound healing


When our mouths do not produce enough saliva regularly, the risk of developing oral health issues increases significantly. Oral health issues caused by xerostomia can include:


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  • Tooth decay (cavities)

  • Gum disease

  • Chronic bad breath (halitosis)

  • Oral thrush (oral yeast infection)

  • Recurring mouth sores 

  • Dry, cracked lips and corners of the mouth

  • Poor nutrition, due to difficulty eating and swallowing.




Causes of Dry Mouth

Because there are many possible causes for xerostomia, you may need to consult a doctor to determine the specific cause behind your chronic dry mouth. Causes for xerostomia include:


  • Dehydration

  • Snoring & mouth breathing

  • Dry & hot weather

  • Eating dry foods

  • Aging

  • Tobacco & alcohol use

  • Cancer therapy

  • Certain health conditions (such as diabetes, stroke, Alzheimer’s, oral thrush, autoimmune diseases like Sjögren's syndrome or HIV/AIDS)

  • Certain medications & drugs

  • Nerve damage to the head or neck area.




Tips for Relieving Dry Mouth


Stay Hydrated! 

Sip water throughout the day to help keep your breath fresher and your mouth moist, pH balanced and comfortable.



Breathe Through Your Nose

Not your mouth!



Avoid Caffeine & Alcohol

Both are dehydrating, and can dry out the mouth.



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Stop Tobacco Use

Studies have found that long term tobacco use (smoking or chewing) is associated with reduced salivary rate, and can increase the symptoms of dry mouth.



Sugar-free Gum or Mints

Chewing stimulates saliva production, and

sugar-free gum will do the trick nicely without bathing your teeth in sugar. Not a fan of gum? Sugar-free lozenges or mints will also help!

We especially recommend sugar-free gum or mints that contain xylitol - studies have shown that xylitol actually combats harmful oral bacteria and can reduce the risk of developing cavities. 



Farmington Dental Care in Beaverton, OR 97005 Implants, Family, Cosmetic Dentist - Dentist near me, Dental Checkup, Cleaning & Examinations, Crowns, Bridges, Implants, Restorations, Veneers & Laminates, Bonding, Fillings, Dentures, Partial Dentures, Teeth Whitening, Tooth Extractions, Kid Friendly Dentist, Periodontics, Root Canal Therapy, Sedation, Inlays & Onlays, Dental Sealants, Oral Cancer Screening

Use a Humidifier

Adding moisture to the air around you can help lessen dry mouth symptoms, especially at night while you sleep, and especially if you snore or sleep with your mouth open.



Use Alcohol-free Mouthwash

Alcohol dries out the mouth; choose

mouthwashes that are alcohol-free!



Saliva Substitutes

Over-the-counter saliva substitutes and oral sprays will help keep your mouth lubricated and comfortable, and are readily available at most drugstores and online. 



Choose More Hydrating Foods

Such as lower-sodium soups and stews, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Try to avoid particularly dry foods, like plain bread and crackers.






 

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