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Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)

Saliva is the mouths natural defense system and is necessary for chewing, swallowing and talking. Dry mouth (xerostomia) occurs when saliva flow is very low. In addition to being uncomfortable and reducing overall quality of life, dry mouth can also increase the chance of dental decay and oral infections. Causes of dry mouth may include medications, radiation or chemotherapy, and certain diseases.


  • Food sticking to the teeth and mouth.
  • Poorly fitting dentures
  • Red, sore tongue
  • Greater risk of cavities and gum disease
  • Yeast infections in the mouth.
  • Burning sensation in the mouth
  • Cracked lips


  • Consult with your dentist or physician to determine the cause.
  • Brush teeth twice a day.
  • Drink at least eight glasses of water a day and/ or suck on ice chips.
  • Chew sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free candy.
  • Eat foods that need to be chewed to stimulate saliva flow.
  • Ask your dentist or pharmacist about dry mouth relief products.
  • Check the mouth for sores or white patches; if found, a dental exam is indicated.
  • Schedule regular dental exams and cleanings.
  • Avoid caffeine, tobacco or alcohol.


  • Remove dentures during rest periods; soak dentures in water overnight with a cleansing tablet.
  • Every time dentures are removed, clean and brush them with a denture brush.
  • Dentures should always be labeled with the resident's name; your dentist can help.
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