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How does dry mouth affect the body?

For some people, dry mouth is an occasional condition. For others, dry mouth can be constant and includes more serious symptoms such as sore throat, burning sensation, problems speaking, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness or dry nasal passages. Left untreated, dry mouth can damage your teeth. Without adequate saliva to lubricate your mouth, wash away food, and neutralize the acids produced by plaque, extensive decay can occur.  

If you feel like your mouth is always dry, it may be time to seek treatment. A dentist will check your teeth for signs of decay that can result from decreased salivary flow. A physician will test for any underlying disease or conditions that may be causing your dry mouth.  

Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, causes a dry feeling and a lack of saliva in the mouth. Saliva helps protect your teeth and gums by restricting the growth of bacteria, so a lack of saliva in the mouth can lead to increased dental decay and disease. Additionally, saliva helps begin to break down food when you eat, so dry mouth can cause problems with eating.

Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, can make it difficult to taste, chew, swallow, and speak clearly. If dry mouth affects your ability to eat, poor nutrition can lead to a host of serious problems. Because saliva neutralizes bacterial acid, dry mouth can dramatically increase your risk of dental cavities and other conditions such as mouth infections, oral thrush, and gum disease. Gum disease has been linked to conditions such as heart disease and cancer.

Continue Learning about Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)

What is xerostomia or dry mouth?
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Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, is characterized by a lack of saliva in the mouth. Dry mouth co...
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What activities should someone with dry mouth avoid?
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.