Dry mouth (xerostomia)

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Dry mouth, or xerostomia (say "zee-ruh-STO-mee-uh"), is a condition in which the mouth doesn't produce enough saliva. Saliva helps neutralize the acid caused by plaque. And it helps flush away sugars that stick to teeth.

Xerostomia has many possible causes. But it is most often a side effect of medicine.

Mild or moderate dry mouth can usually be improved by taking frequent sips of water, chewing sugar-free gum, or sucking on sugar-free hard candy. Mouth lubricants and saliva substitutes can help to moisten the mouth and throat. More severe dry mouth symptoms may need treatment with medicine.

People with dry mouth need to be especially attentive to their dental care.

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