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Serving the Kingston, Napanee, Gananoque and South Frontenac areas.

What causes dry mouth? How do you cope with it?

We have all had dry mouths at one time or another. It may have occurred when we had to stand up and speak to a group of people. Or maybe it was accompanied by thirst that simply couldn’t be quenched. Here are some of the questions that you can ask yourself to determine whether or not you suffer from a dry mouth:

     ● Do you have difficulty with swallowing or speaking?
     ● Does your tongue often feel like shoe leather?
     ● Do you constantly sip liquids to swallow food?
     ● Does it seem as if you have too little saliva?
     ● Do you wake up with a dry or sticky mouth?

A dry mouth is a condition that may be an indication or symptom of another medical issue. Because treating dry mouth is not as simple as drinking water, it’s essential to understand its origins or implications.

Several diseases are directly associated with dry mouth. They include Alzheimer’s disease, Addison’s disease, diabetes, depression and uncontrolled high blood pressure. With that understanding, it is vital to understand the risks associated with dry mouth and the steps you can take to mitigate its effects.

Three causes will create dry mouth, including medications, diseases mentioned above and damage to salivary glands. No matter the cause, treatments are available to protect you from gum disease and tooth decay that are consequences of dry mouth.

Regular brushing and flossing are crucial. Use fluoride toothpaste to reduce the susceptibility of bacteria causing tooth decay. Be sure to visit your dental provider regularly, advising your dry mouth condition. That provider may add fluoride to your teeth.

You may also be suggested to add artificial saliva to your oral hygiene program. Many artificial saliva products are available over the counter and can effectively address your dry mouth. Prescription drugs are another option, with new medical alternatives being researched and introduced continuously.

Take an active role in minimizing the effects of your dry mouth. Drink water frequently and have it nearby to keep your mouth moist. Suck on sugar-free hard candies, chew sugar-free gum and have ice chips or popsicles available. Add moisture to your foods with gravies, broths or juices. And avoid salty foods and alcohol, which contribute to dry mouth, as do acidic fluids such as fruit juices.

Above all, remember that dry mouth is not merely a precursor to bad breath. The lack of saliva has potential consequences for tooth decay, gum disease and fungal or viral infections. Consult your dental professional and physician for a thorough understanding of dry mouth and its connection to overall health.

With careful attention to diet, oral hygiene, routine dental care and general good sense about treating a dry mouth, you can be responsible for substantial effects. Your medications or medical conditions may be the causes, but you can be the most effective in reducing impacts.

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