Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, is a condition in which the salivary glands fail to produce enough saliva. This can lead to discomfort, difficulty in speech and swallowing, and an increased risk of dental decay and infections.

Dry mouth can be caused by a variety of factors, including medications, medical treatments such as radiation therapy, aging, and systemic diseases such as diabetes and Sjögren’s syndrome. It can also be a side effect of lifestyle choices such as smoking or excessive alcohol and caffeine consumption.

To manage dry mouth, it is important to identify and address the underlying cause. This might involve adjusting medication dosages, addressing health conditions such as diabetes, or making lifestyle changes to reduce tobacco and alcohol consumption.

There are also several strategies that can help alleviate the symptoms of dry mouth. Drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated is important, as is avoiding foods that are dry or high in sugar or acids. Chewing sugar-free gum or using saliva substitutes can help stimulate saliva production and keep the mouth moist. Proper oral hygiene, including regular brushing and flossing, is also crucial to prevent dental decay and infections.

In more severe cases, prescription medications such as pilocarpine or cevimeline may be recommended to help increase saliva production. Regardless of the cause or severity of dry mouth, it is important to seek professional dental and medical care to prevent complications and ensure optimal oral and overall health.