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Xerostomia
Chronic dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, is caused by lack of saliva for a long period of time. Multiple causes for dry mouth exist, including medications, chronic diseases, and certain medical treatments. Chronic dry mouth is not only uncomfortable, but it increases your risk for dental caries and makes it difficult for dentures to fit properly. When a person with this unusually high risk for dental caries is unaware of the risk, it often leads to widespread and significant problems that often require extensive repair or may need extraction. The treatment for people with dry mouths often focuses more on the prevention of dental caries. We often have little control over the dryness, and so we treat the symptoms. Fluoride application, diet counseling, and oral hygiene instruction are common ways to lessen the effects of this level of dryness. To help relieve symptoms of dry mouth you may want to drink fluids that do not contain sugar or acids, with water being the best. You also may want to use sugar-free hard candy or gum to stimulate saliva flow. Many people have also found some relief using over the counter saliva substitutes. If you suffer from dry mouth, you should visit your prosthodontist more frequently than every six months to address your increased risk of tooth decay.