Dry Mouth Syndrome

What is dry mouth syndrome?

Dry mouth syndrome (or xerostemia) occurs when there is not enough saliva present in the mouth, and affects 25% of people over the age of 65. Symptoms of dry mouth can include:

  • A rough, dry tongue.
  • Thick and stringy saliva.
  • Problems chewing and swallowing dry foods.
  • Bad breath.
  • Mouth ulcers.

Dry mouth syndrome can increase the chances of tooth decay.

This is because saliva plays an important role in directly attacking the bacteria that causes decay. Saliva has anti-fungal properties and can neutralise the acids produced by plaque, and contains phosphorus and calcium that are used to strengthen tooth enamel.


Dry mouth syndrome can lead to a unique form of tooth decay that can occur under the gum line and on the lower teeth that are normally protected from decay due to saliva produced beneath the tongue. This can necessitate further dental treatment such as root canal therapy down the track. At our dental practice located in Sherwood, we can treat dry mouth syndrome before it leads to further issues down the track.

Prevention of dry mouth disease

We believe prevention is always better than a cure, so follow these tips to help prevent dry mouth syndrome as you age:

  • Breathe through your nose and not your mouth
  • Thoroughly chew food to stimulate the flow of saliva
  • Avoid mints and mint flavoured mouthwashes
  • Avoid or reduce your consumption of cigarettes, alcohol, caffeine and spicy foods.
  • One of the most important ways you can reduce your risk of developing dry mouth syndrome is to maintain a proper oral hygiene routine.

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