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Dry mouth, or xerostomia (zeer-o-STOE-me-uh), refers to any condition in which your mouth is unusually dry. Most often, dry mouth is the result of a decrease in saliva produced by the glands in your mouth (salivary glands), and it's frequently a side effect of medication. Less often, dry mouth may be caused by a condition that directly affects the salivary glands.

Dry mouth is a common problem. It can range from being merely a nuisance to something that has a major impact on your general health and the health of your teeth, as well as your appetite and enjoyment of food.

Saliva helps prevent tooth decay by neutralizing acids produced by bacteria, limiting bacterial growth and washing away food particles. Saliva also enhances your ability to taste and makes it easier to swallow. In addition, enzymes in saliva aid in digestion.

Treatment for dry mouth depends on the cause.

May. 10, 2014

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