Dry mouth (or xerostomia) is a condition that is experienced by most people at some point in their lives. Although dry mouth is temporary in most cases, it can become a chronic problem for some. Prolonged dryness of the mouth can be a warning sign of a more serious medical condition.
Dry mouth is caused by a decreased flow of saliva from the salivary glands. There are two salivary glands located inside the cheeks beside the back top molar and at the floor of your mouth. There are approximately 600 salivary glands throughout your mouth. Saliva plays an important role in neutralizing the acids in the mouth. Without this protection, acids can attack the teeth and cause rapid tooth decay. Saliva also aids in the digestion of food.
Although some medications have side effects that could lead to dry mouth, there are other contributing factors, such as coffee, alcohol, spices and onions. Stress is also another factor that causes dry mouth, because when we stress we tend to breathe through our mouth instead of our nose. To manage dryness of the mouth, you should:
- Drink an adequate amount of water every day and sip on water regularly.
- Avoid coffee, alcohol, certain spices and tobacco products
- Chew substances that contain xylitol which moistens your mouth
Dry mouth can make you more prone to cavities, gum disease and oral infections so it’s important that you visit a dentist regularly. It is recommended you have a dental check-up at least every 6 months to ensure good oral health. Contact us for a dentist in Cape Town.