Dry mouth: When drinking more water isn’t enough

by | Apr 15, 2024 | Health and Wellness

A sticky, dry mouth is more than an uncomfortable feeling. Occasional dry mouth from nervousness or dehydration goes away with a glass of water. But if your mouth is often dry, your tongue is sticking to the roof of your mouth, and it is difficult to chew, swallow and talk, you may have persistent dry mouth, known as xerostomia.

Dry mouth affects your overall health and well-being. Difficulty chewing and swallowing makes it a challenge to eat well. Difficulty talking can be socially embarrassing. Dry mouth can also cause bad breath, sores in your mouth and on your lips, cavities and other oral health problems.

Many things can cause dry mouth. Some medications, especially cold medicines and medications for high blood pressure, depression and anxiety, will leave your mouth feeling dry. Treatments for cancer and some diseases and chronic conditions are associated with dry mouth. So are some lifestyle choices, such as smoking.

If you notice that your mouth often feels dry and swallowing is difficult, ask your oral health-care professional for advice. Scheduling routine visits with your dental hygienist will help monitor your health condition and provide regular scaling (cleaning and polishing).

For daily comfort, try the following tips:

  • Clean your teeth and your mouth twice daily.
  • Use an alcohol-free mouth rinse.
  • Sip water regularly and drink water with every meal.
  • Chew sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free candies.
  • Use lip lubricants or balm to prevent dry lips and sores.
  • Avoid foods and drinks that are known to dry your mouth, such as caffeine, alcohol, cinnamon-flavoured items, and spicy and acidic foods.
  • Reduce or quit smoking.

Find more information about dry mouth at dentalhygienecanada.ca

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