Xerostomia, otherwise known as dry mouth, usually occurs when the production of saliva slows down29. These barren conditions result in difficulty speaking, sore throat and the inability to find a glass of water large enough to quench the thirst. In persistent cases, it can also lead to bad breath. Why? The natural saliva that has so mysteriously seemed to vanish has a job to do: flushing bacteria and leftover food particles from your mouth. Without saliva to flush them away, the bacteria and debris start to break down, creating an unpleasant odour29.
Lots of things can cause dry mouth. Certain medications can decrease saliva production. So can radiation treatments, diabetes and mouth breathing. If left untreated, dry mouth can lead to decaying teeth18.
You can treat the side effects of dry mouth. Chewing sugar-free gum can help stimulate saliva without coating the teeth with excess sugars. Other simple remedies for dry mouth include limiting caffeine and drinking lots of water18.