Dry Mouth is most often caused by a lack of saliva but mouth breathing can also create this condition. The drying irritates the soft tissue of the mouth and can lead to infections. What makes saliva so important is that it is one of your body’s natural defenses against plaque. It acts to rinse your mouth of cavity-causing bacteria and other harmful materials. It also is the initiating agent to begin digestion.
Symptoms or signs of dry mouth include bad breath, and more severe problems like burning tongue syndrome or secondary dental decay.
CAUSES: Medications, pain killers, antidepressants, radiation treatment, emotional stress, chemotherapy or Sjogren syndrome (salivary gland disease).
TREATMENT: chewing xylitol based gum or hard candies, sipping water with meals, sucking on ice cubes, keeping air moist with a humidifier, over the counter saliva tablets, lanolin-based ointments, sipping water, using alcohol- free mouthwash. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, tobacco and carbonated drinks. More involved care can include some orthodontic or surgical procedures to eliminate the causative factors of mouth breathing.