Dry mouth (or xerostomia) is a condition caused by a decrease in the flow of the saliva. Dry mouth can affect many different people and a decrease in the salivary flow can lead to more potential problems in the mouth, from an increase in tooth decay to infection of the gum tissue. Saliva keeps the harmful bacteria in the mouth in constant motion; without the saliva the toxins produced by the bacteria can cause tooth and gum damage.
People who commonly suffer from dry mouth include those who are taking certain medications, those receiving radiation for head and/or neck cancer, those who are diabetic and those who have a salivary gland disease. Dry mouth also is caused by Sjogren’s Syndrome (Show-grins), an autoimmune disease with no know cure, that causes the moisture secreting glands of the mouth to dry up.
To help increase moisture in the mouth try sugarless lozenges or increase water consumption. There also are oral lubricants that can be bought over-the-counter and fluoride gels and mouthwashes that can be applied to keep the teeth protected. If you suffer from dry mouth, see your dentist regularly and brush and floss diligently to help prevent decay.