Dry mouth is a condition that occurs when you don’t have enough saliva to keep your mouth wet. It’s a side effect of many medications. It can also be caused by radiation to the head and neck with cancer treatment, a problem with the salivary glands, and diseases such as Sjogren’s syndrome, diabetes or HIV/AIDS. Saliva is essential for a healthy mouth. It helps break down your food and helps you swallow. It also helps neutralize the acid produced by bacteria that cause tooth decay. When you don’t have enough saliva, you’re at a higher risk for fungal infections and tooth decay. If you have dry mouth, talk to your primary care provider or dentist about things you can do.
Things you can do to help your dry mouth symptoms:
- Keep a water bottle with you to remember to sip water throughout the day.
- Use mouth spray or lozenges products made specifically as saliva alternatives.
- Chew sugarless gum or mints.