Wedgewood Dental

Dry Mouth: Understanding Your Path To A Healthy Mouth

Dry Mouth: Understanding Your Path To A Healthy Mouth

Adequate levels of saliva are important for oral health, meaning that having a dry mouth is more than just an annoyance. However, there are a number of steps that can be taken to address the condition, also known as xerostomia, and to reduce its impact on your teeth and gums.

The Symptoms of Dry Mouth

Whilst the most obvious symptom is often feeling that your mouth is dry, other symptoms can also point to the condition. These can include a burning sensation, increased sensitivity to certain foods, increased thirst, dry or cracked lips, and the gums becoming redder or developing sores.

Experiencing one or even all of these symptoms isn’t a guarantee that they’re caused by dry mouth, but they are an indication that you should speak to your dentist or medical professional..

The Causes of Dry Mouth

Dry mouth can be the result of other medical factors, potentially arising as a side effect of medications or treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, or being a symptom of another medical condition. Dehydration and lifestyle factors such as smoking can also lead to the development of the condition or worsen it when it’s already present.

There are many more risk factors, however, and the cause may not always be obvious. It’s also possible that dry mouth can result from a combination of causal factors.

Why It’s Important to Address Dry Mouth

Since saliva serves many important functions, dry mouth can increase your risk of developing a range of oral health issues. It can make it more difficult to swallow and can negatively impact your digestion, as well as leading to physical discomfort and in some cases pain. Saliva also works to keep your teeth and gums clean and prevents bacteria from building up, meaning that dry mouth also increases your risk of gum disease and tooth decay.

How To Address Dry Mouth

There are a number of steps you can take to remedy dry mouth, or at least to reduce its impact. Which ones will work best varies from one person to the next and in part depends on what is causing the condition to begin with.

Addressing the Root Causes

If your dry mouth is being directly caused by another factor such as medication, illness, or tobacco use, you may be able to minimize or resolve it by addressing this root cause. For example, if it’s a side effect of a medication you’re taking, your doctor may be able to make adjustments to remedy the problem. If your dry mouth is the result of smoking or other tobacco use, it provides yet another incentive to drop the habit, with professional support if needed.

Of course, in some cases fixing the cause isn’t possible, meaning that you’ll need to take steps to mitigate the issue and reduce the associated risks instead.

Treating the Symptoms and Reducing the Risks

Staying hydrated is important and sipping water regularly throughout the day can provide some relief, as can chewing sugar-free gum. Sucking candies can also help, but as with gum it’s important to make sure they’re sugar-free and it’s best to avoid ones that may be acidic.

Due to the increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease, it’s even more important to maintain a good oral hygiene routine. This includes effective brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash, as well as regular checkups with your dentist. Whilst they may notice the signs, it’s good to be direct with them about any symptoms that you’re experiencing so that they’re able to offer you advice and rule out any other potential issues.

Whether you’re due for a checkup or have an issue you want to discuss, Wedgewood Dental (your dentist in Rolla, MO) is happy to help. Contact us to book an appointment or to learn more about our services today.


713 Salem Avenue Suite A, Rolla MO 65401

Office Hours

MON 7:30 am - 3:30 pm

TUE Closed

WED - THU 7:30 am - 3:30 pm

FRI - SUN Closed

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Phone: (573) 368-7325


1116 S. Main Street, Salem MO 65560

Office Hours

MON Closed

TUE 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

WED - THU Closed

FRI 9:00 am - 3:00 pm

SAT - SUN Closed

Get in Touch


Phone: (573) 729-7701