5 ways to cope with mouth dryness

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Ever notice your mouth feels like an arid dessert? Or maybe your tongue feels dry like beef jerky. While dry mouth is uncomfortable, the mouth may harbors more bacteria due to depleted saliva. And that could lead to tooth decay, according to the American Dental Association (ADA).1, 2 No one wants to schedule dental appointments to fill cavities or have teeth yanked out. That’s why it’s important to protect your teeth while you still have them.

Consider this. While it may have been common for those that are or grandparents to wear dentures, that trend is showing signs of reverse. The percentage of 60-year-olds or older who have kept their natural teeth has gone up by about 6% over the past 10 years, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control.3

If you want to keep what’s inside your mouth—consider the following oral hygiene essentials from the ADA, CDC, and Delta Dental. Remember to always follow specific recommendations from your healthcare and dental providers.

  1. Water helps to stimulate the salivary glands. Sugar-free chewing gum helps too.4
  2. Saliva helps protect your teeth against tooth decay, while a dry mouth may increase risks of tooth decay.2
  3. Besides feeling thirsty, other symptoms associated with a dry mouth include cracked lips, bad breath and sores inside the mouth.2 Some medicines are linked to dry mouth. Common offenders include incontinence medications, anti-depressants, high blood pressure medicines and pain relievers.2
  4. Unless instructed otherwise by your healthcare provider, try to avoid caffeine2, alcohol, and tobacco if you’re bothered by dry mouth.5
  5. See your doctor if you have symptoms of mouth dryness. Mouth rinses may help reduce formation of tartar, prevent or control tooth decay and reduce plaque according to the American Dental Association.6

Reference: 1. http://www.ada.org/en/science-research/ada-seal-of-acceptance/product-category-information/saliva-artificial 2. http://oralhealth.deltadental.com/OlderAdult/DryMouth/22,21438 3. http://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/publications/factsheets/adult_oral_health/adults.htm 4. http://oralhealth.deltadental.com/22,21457 Oral Health Library 5. http://m.oralhealth.deltadental.com/22,21481?SetPreference=MobileSite Oral Health Library 6. http://www.ada.org/en/science-research/ada-seal-of-acceptance/product-category-information/mouthrinses

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