What’s Wrong with Dry Mouth?

When you first wake up in the morning, on an especially hot day, or when you simply haven’t had a drink in a while, dry mouth is common, and is characteristically an uncomfortable feeling. Usually, drinking water can eliminate your discomfort, but how do you find relief when your mouth refuses to produce saliva? Today, we describe what chronic dry mouth, called xerostomia, can mean for your oral health, and what you can do to combat it.

When Dry Mouth is More than Inconvenient

There are a number of occasions during which your mouth slows or ceases its saliva production; for instance, when you sleep (which is fortunate, since swallowing saliva is often a conscious effort). While some instances of dehydration are temporary, others can be caused by a reaction to certain medications, the presence of a variety of diseases, or bad habits like smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. If medication is the cause, a change in your prescription may alleviate the dental condition. If your mouth is dry as a symptom of an illness, then treating the illness may resolve the problem.

Whatever the cause, treating dry mouth is about more than finding comfort; your saliva is your mouth’s natural protection against bacteria-induced dental issues like tooth decay and gum disease. A chronically inadequate flow of saliva can increase your chances of these diseases by making your mouth more hospitable to harmful oral bacteria.

Protection from the Risks of Dry Mouth

If your mouth is afflicted with xerostomia, try these tips to keep your mouth hydrated and reduce the risk of tooth decay and gum disease;

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Drink milk (the calcium and phosphate content helps strengthen your tooth enamel)
  • Chew sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free candy, ice chips, or sugar-free popsicles
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and sugary drinks and/or snacks
  • Avoid commercial mouth rinses that contain alcohol, which can dry out your mouth
  • If dry mouth persists, visit your dentist or oral health specialist as soon as possible to determine the cause


Dr. Shawn Hofkes and the staff at Cerritos Dental Surgery are highly qualified to address complex issues, including those that require oral surgery to correct. To schedule an appointment or consultation with Dr. Hofkes, contact us today by calling 562-584-4082. We proudly serve patients of all ages from Cerritos, Lakewood, Long Beach, Buena Park, and all surrounding communities.