Friday - - Advice -

QMy mouth gets dry fre­quently, par­tic­u­larly if I am stressed. Is there some­thing wrong with my oral healthcare rou­tine? What should I do?

ADry mouth, known as xe­ros­to­mia in med­i­cal par­lance, is a com­monly ex­pe­ri­enced con­di­tion. In most cases it is tem­po­rary and is of­ten ex­pe­ri­enced dur­ing stress or anx­i­ety, as it is in your case.

But if the dry­ness is present all or most of the time, it could be a sign of an un­der­ly­ing con­di­tion such as di­a­betes, Sjö­gren’s syn­drome (a chronic au­toim­mune dis­ease where the body’s white blood cells de­stroy the sali­vary and lacrimal glands), anaemia or Alzheimer’s. Many med­i­ca­tions can also cause dry­ness as a side ef­fect. If you sus­pect any med­i­cal prob­lems, con­sult a physi­cian.

Dry mouth can make you more prone to cav­i­ties, gum dis­ease and oral in­fec­tions, so it is im­por­tant that you visit a den­tist regularly at least ev­ery six months. The den­tist may also rec­om­mend flu­o­ride mouth rinses or some saliva sub­sti­tutes if re­quired.

Stress causes dry mouth be­cause when we are anx­ious we tend to breathe more through our mouth than the nose. There is also an in­creased amount of acid pro­duced in our stom­ach. This can cause acid re­flux, which can re­sult in dry­ness.

To re­lieve dry­ness sip wa­ter of­ten dur­ing the day. You can use sug­ar­less chew­ing gum, which stim­u­lates more saliva flow. Avoid drinks with caf­feine such as cof­fee or so­das.

Do not use to­bacco or mouth­washes con­tain­ing al­co­hol as they also cause dry­ness.

Dr Joy Antony is CEO of Dr Joy Den­tal Clinic, which has branches in Jumeirah, BurJu­man, Mirdif and Karama

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