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Dry Mouth

Dry mouth (also known as Xerostomia) occurs when there is not enough saliva, or spit to keep your mouth moist and comfortable. Dry mouth is not a disease. It is a side effect of taking medications or can be a symptom of certain diseases or conditions.Dry mouth is a common complaint amongst older adults but can occur at any age. It is not a normal sign of aging.

Dry mouth Ottawa


  • A sticky, dry or burning feeling in the mouth, throat or nasal passages
  • Lips or corners of mouth are cracked
  • Lips may stick to teeth or dentures
  • Saliva is thick and stringy
  • Trouble chewing, swallowing, tasting or speaking


Saliva helps to protect teeth by neutralizing the acid caused by plaque that leads to tooth decay. In addition, decreased saliva leads to:

  • Plaque buildup
  • Gingivitis and gum disease
  • Dentures being less comfortable to wear
  • Bad breath


  • Daily mouth care: clean teeth, gums and dentures
  • Brush teeth with a high fluoride toothpaste
  • Use a high fluoride mouth rinse
  • Take frequent sips of water to keep the mouth moist
  • Chew sugar-free gum or candy to stimulate saliva
  • Avoid tobacco, alcohol, caffeinated beverages and sugary drinks
  • Speak to your dentist about products that can help keep your mouth moist
  • Have regular dental examinations and professional cleanings