Xerostomia is a condition in which the mouth is dry because it does not produce enough saliva. Saliva helps neutralize the acid caused by plaque, making it harmless to teeth, and it helps flush away sugars that stick to teeth.

Xerostomia has many possible causes. But it is most often a side effect of medicine. Mild or moderate dry mouth can usually be improved by taking frequent sips of water, chewing gum, or sucking on sugarless hard candy. More severe dry mouth symptoms may need treatment with medicine.

Mouth lubricants and saliva substitutes can help to moisten the mouth and throat. People with dry mouth need to be especially attentive to their dental care.

Current as of: November 14, 2014

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Steven K. Patterson, BS, DDS, MPH - Dentistry