Dry mouth, or xerostomia, affects many people, and its causes are diverse. From age-related changes to the side effects of medication, understanding why dry mouth occurs is the first step to managing it effectively.

Approximately one in four adults suffer from dry mouth, making it one of the most common oral health issues today. The prevalence increases to 40% among individuals over the age of 55, highlighting the impact of aging on salivary gland function

Why Does Dry Mouth Happen?

Several factors can lead to dry mouth, including:

  • Age: As we age, changes in salivary gland function can reduce saliva production.
  • Medications: Many common medications, particularly some seizure medications, are known to cause dry mouth.
  • Medical Conditions: Various health conditions can affect saliva production.
  • Dehydration: Low body water levels can directly impact the moisture available in your mouth.

These are just a few examples of what can lead to dry mouth. Often, your doctor or dentist will warn you if your condition or medication is likely to cause this issue.

Why Is Saliva So Important?

Saliva does more than just keep your mouth moist; it plays a critical role in your oral health by:

  • Cleaning the mouth: Saliva helps wash away food particles and bacteria.
  • Providing minerals: Minerals like calcium and phosphate in saliva help repair and strengthen teeth.
  • Neutralizing acids: Saliva helps counteract the acids from food and bacteria that can cause tooth decay.

How Can You Manage Dry Mouth?

If you’re dealing with dry mouth, there are several strategies to manage it:

  • Stay Hydrated: Drinking water throughout the day can help compensate for reduced saliva production.
  • Use Mouth Rinses: Special mouth rinses designed for dry mouth can provide relief.
  • Chew Lozenges: Sucking on lozenges can stimulate saliva production.
  • Visit Your Dentist: Regular dental checkups are crucial, as dry mouth increases the risk of dental problems like decay and tartar buildup.

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Dry Mouth?

Without enough saliva, your teeth are more vulnerable to decay and the effects of an acidic environment in the mouth. This can lead to more frequent dental issues, which is why managing dry mouth is crucial for maintaining oral health.

Practical Tips for Everyday Management

For those with dry mouth, simple changes can make a big difference:

  1. Sip water regularly to keep your mouth moist and help flush out food particles and bacteria.
  2. Avoid beverages that can dehydrate, such as coffee and alcohol.
  3. Maintain good oral hygiene: Brush and floss regularly and use fluoride toothpaste to protect your teeth.

Why Should You Not Ignore Dry Mouth?

Ignoring dry mouth can lead to serious dental issues, including tooth decay and gum disease. It’s essential to understand the causes of dry mouth and use effective treatments to protect your oral health. For residents of Westlake Village, Agoura Hills, or Thousand Oaks, maintaining good oral hygiene and regular dentist visits are crucial, especially if you suffer from dry mouth. If you’re experiencing symptoms of dry mouth, visit our dentist in Westlake Village to find the right treatment to manage your condition and prevent further oral health complications.