Dry mouth or xerostomia is a result of reduced or absent saliva flow.
People with dry mouth lose the protective effect of saliva in preventing tooth decay and trauma to the oral mucosa. Where dry mouth is caused by medication, talk to your doctor about possible alternative drugs which may not have the same mouth drying side effect. For many people, the underlying cause of dry mouth cannot be prevented and management of the problem is the best option. Management involves making the person comfortable by providing oral lubricants (saliva substitutes), and preventing disease through the use of fluoride mouthrinses and mouthrinses to control plaque. See more in our section on Dry Mouth.
Nowadays there are many saliva substitutes or oral lubricants on the market, generally available through pharmacy outlets; these can be effective in reducing the unpleasant side effects of reduced flow of saliva. Saliva stimulants have also been developed for those with some remaining salivary gland function; these are available on prescription but do have some side effects which should be discussed with your doctor or dentist prior to use.