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What is Dry Mouth and Why is it a Problem?

You wake one morning and lunge for a glass of water to soothe your parched mouth and the problem resolves itself quickly. If, however, this describes the state of your mouth more often than not, you’ve likely got xerostomia, the medical term for chronic dry mouth.

Peter Lee, DDS of Today’s Dentistry in San Jose, CA, understands how seemingly small problems like dry mouth can lead to much larger issues. 

With that in mind, here’s a look at dry mouth and its potential complications.

Dry mouth 101

Dry mouth is a condition in which your saliva glands aren’t functioning correctly, which can occur for many reasons, including:

While everyone can experience occasional dry mouth due to dehydration, stress, or fear, ongoing issues can have a widespread impact on your health.

Why dry mouth is problematic

The saliva in your mouth is there to perform several functions. To begin, your saliva is the first step in your digestive process as it starts breaking down food before you swallow and enables easier swallowing. It also helps to keep food moving along rather than lingering inside your mouth.

Saliva also plays a critical role as your body’s first line of defense against pathogens that enter your mouth, and plenty do on a daily basis.

Also, your saliva plays a key role in neutralizing the acids produced by the myriad bacteria in your mouth.

Rounding out the long list of benefits, your saliva contains calcium and phosphate, which help promote strong, healthy teeth.

What this all means is that dry mouth can lead to:

As you can see by this list, dry mouth can be very problematic, which is why resolving the issue is important.

Resolving dry mouth

Since dry mouth is caused by poorly functioning salivary glands, our treatments' goal is to increase their output, which we can usually achieve with mouth rinses that are specifically designed to address dry mouth. Further, there are certain tips you can try on your own that can help, like sucking on sugar-free candies to promote salivation.

If you’d like to find a solution for your dry mouth, please call our office at 418-402-3820 or request your appointment online.

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