Let’s talk about dry mouth….

Dry mouth is an issue that plaques millions of people, for many different reasons. Dry mouth symptoms can range from mild to severe and is not only bothersome, but can be very damaging to the entire oral cavity, including the teeth. First, let’s talk about how inadequate salivary flow can affect the oral cavity and some of the risk factors associated with the development of dry mouth.

Saliva is an essential component to regulating every day activities such as speaking, chewing, and swallowing food. Most people have experienced some form of dry mouth in their lives and can recall how uncomfortable this disorder can be. When dealing with dry mouth, it is important to pinpoint a possible cause as well as make note of when you most often experience symptoms, as dry mouth can be can be transient throughout the day, or consistently appearing at a certain time. Most of the time, patients will tell me very specific times in the day, such as at night or early in the morning, that their symptoms are heightened. Since specific times may be linked to certain risk factors, it is therefore important to understand what may be causing dry mouth before we can look at palliative treatment options.

Most commonly, dry mouth is associated with these 4 Risk Factors:

  1. Medications: Many common classifications of drugs can cause dry mouth, such as: Cancer treatment/ chemotherapy drugs or heart and hypertension medications. However, the most common culprits are anti-depressant/anxiety meds and diuretics, due to the effect they have on the body’s system.
  2. Dehydration: Chronic dehydration may cause the body to produce less saliva as means of maintaining regular organ function. It is recommended to have frequent sips of water throughout the day to maintain moistness in the oral cavity and combat dehydration.
  3. Weather: Yes, that’s right! The weather plays an important role in how your body regulates itself. Alberta is known for experiencing erred conditions. If you are experiencing dry mouth, and don’t fit into another risk factor, then perhaps investing in a humidifier may solve your problem. Research has shown that placing a humidifier near your bed can help not only the oral tissues maintain moistness but the nasal passageways as well.
  4. Autoimmune diseases and Diabetes: One of the most common signs of Diabetes is chronic dry mouth. Similarly, certain autoimmune diseases such as Sjögren’s Syndrome and HIV positive cause dry mouth when the body attacks its own saliva producing cells.

Once you have an idea of why you may be experiencing dry mouth, let’s focus on what implications dry mouth may have in regards to your health. Firstly, saliva is an essential component to maintaining a healthy oral cavity. Saliva not only assists with speaking, chewing, and swallowing, but saliva also buffers acids produced by harmful bacteria found in the oral cavity that may cause dental decay. Salivary substitutes exist in many over the counter remedies (such as sprays, rinses, and lozenges) that adhere to the tissues to produce oral moistness for several hours.

Treatment for dry mouth is important, as it contributes to maintaining the health of your teeth. If you are feeling overwhelmed with the many treatment options, it is a good idea to discuss these concerns at you next regular check-up with any of the friendly and experienced staff at Braeside Dental Centre.

Thanks for reading, and we look forward to seeing you at your next scheduled appointment!

​Braeside Dental Centre


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