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What is xerostomia or dry mouth?

Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, is characterized by a lack of saliva in the mouth. Dry mouth commonly affects almost everyone at one time or another, but persistent dry mouth can lead to problems eating, talking, or even cause dental decay. Dry mouth is often a side effect of medication, but there are many other causes.

Dry mouth, or xerostomia, is common problem that can be caused by antihistamines or other medications, or by health conditions such as diabetes or Sjogren's syndrome (an autoimmune disease). If you have severe dry mouth, talk to a doctor or dentist about treatment. Dry mouth often causes difficulty with chewing and swallowing and an increase in cavities because of a lack of saliva. Normally, saliva is a lubricant that contains many chemicals that bathe the teeth and protect them from acid-producing bacteria. Home remedies for dry mouth include frequently rinsing the mouth with water, using special oral rinses, and chewing sugar-free gum.
Saliva helps wash away food particles and keeps the mouth moist. Without adequate saliva, bacteria continue to colonize. Xerostomia, or dry mouth, is a common complaint among diabetic dental patients and patients undergoing radiation of the head and neck for cancer therapy. Constant dryness irritates the soft tissues in the mouth, often making them inflamed and painful. This condition greatly increases the risk of tooth decay and periodontal diseases.
It is the excessive dryness of the mouth. Some dryness is experienced after sleep but dryness during the day is not normal.

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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.