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Dry Mouth

Dry mouth (xerostomia) may make it hard for you to eat, talk, swallow, wear dentures, or taste food. In most cases, home treatment will relieve symptoms of a dry mouth. An ongoing dry mouth can lead to mouth infections, gum disease, and dental cavities.

Some causes of dry mouth include dehydration, breathing through your mouth, stress or anxiety, and problems with the function of the salivary glands.

Recommended Related to Oral Health

Dealing with TMJ Disorders

Temporomandibular disorders are a group of problems that cause pain and poor function in the jaw joint and the muscles responsible for jaw movement. They're also called TMD, or TMJ (short for temporomandibular joint) disorders. TMD can be just a nuisance -- or it can be a life-altering problem. When it's less severe, crunching down on a hard bit of food can shoot a bolt of pain through the jaw joint -- unpleasant, to be sure, but not serious. With time and simple home care, the pain usually...

Read the Dealing with TMJ Disorders article > >

A dry mouth can also be caused by a medicine, such as a diuretic, antihistamine, or decongestant. If you suspect a medicine is the cause of your dry mouth, call the doctor who prescribed the medicine to determine whether you should stop taking it or take a different one. An appointment may not be necessary. If you are taking a nonprescription medicine, stop taking it. Call your doctor if you feel you need to continue the medicine.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer David Messenger, MD
Last Revised September 15, 2010

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 15, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

How Do I Measure Up? Get the Facts Fast!

Number of Days Per Week I Floss

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You are currently

Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

SOURCES:

American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

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