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Dental expert explains dry mouth
Updated: 8/6/2008 4:00:22 PM

Having a dry mouth can be irritating and uncomfortable and can also increase the risk of gum disease, cavities and bad breath.

According to Dr Fred Eck, saliva contains enzymes that fight against cavity formation, as well as working as a natural cleaner to prevent bacteria and plaque from clinging to teeth and gums.

He told the Marco Eagle that there can be a number of reasons why a person suffers from dry mouth, formally known as xerostomia.

Over 500 medications are known to cause the condition, as is cancer therapy. As people get older they are also more likely to suffer from xerostomia.

Dehydration can also play a part - Dr Eck advised drinking six to eight glasses of water a day and keeping a water bottle next to the bed at night.

He also recommended that anyone who experiences dry mouth should avoid sugar "at all costs", noting that it is common for people to use hard candies to help stimulate saliva flow but "this can be disastrous to the teeth because cavities are easily formed in these conditions".

Medic8 also states that smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol can exacerbate xerostomia.
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