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Dry Mouth: What You Need to Know

Does your mouth feel like it’s full of cotton?

Have you ever had the experience of waking up in the morning feeling like your mouth was full of cotton? A dry mouth is a common occurrence if your nose is stuffed up when you have a cold or seasonal allergies. Sometimes, however, people have a dry mouth all day long and not because they are breathing through their mouths. If you have been afflicted by this uncomfortable condition, here are some things you should know about dry mouth.

Causes of Dry Mouth

Sometimes, getting a dry mouth can be a natural part of the aging process. Women going through menopause often complain of a dry mouth. This is a common condition caused by fluctuating hormone levels. Other times a dry mouth can be caused by medication. If you are on antihistamines, blood pressure medication, medicine for anxiety, or certain other drugs, a dry mouth can be a side effect. If this is the case, let your doctor know. In some cases, you might be able to switch brands of medication (but don’t stop taking your medications without your doctor telling you to).

Dangers of Dry Mouth

Most of all, dry mouth is a nuisance. Your mouth will likely be uncomfortable and distracting. If your gums and other tissues begin to feel sensitive or even painful, you might be less likely to follow through with brushing and flossing. This can raise your chances of developing gingivitis or cavities. The dry mouth itself can cause these issues, because there’s less protective saliva to wash away plaque and bacteria.

What You Should Do

If you have dry mouth, it’s important to see your dentist for advice and so he or she can evaluate you for dental cavities and gum problems. Some self-help measures can provide relief. For example, you can try chewing sugarless gum or sucking on sugar-free candy. These can stimulate more saliva. Sipping on water or other beverages can also provide some relief. Your dentist will likely have additional suggestions that can help.

If you are dealing with a dry mouth, don’t continue to suffer. Give us a call to schedule an appointment and we will see if we can help you find some ways to find relief.

Creative Commons image by ih.