Coming Up Dry
“Xerostomia” is the medical term for the condition commonly known as “dry mouth,” which leaves those affected feeling parched. Because saliva production decreases by as much as 40 percent with age, xerostomia is particularly common among those over the age of 65. In some cases, having the feeling of a dry mouth has more to do with the composition of the saliva than an actual decrease in production. In other cases, some people may not be aware that they have a problem until persistent bad breath, cracked lips, and/or hoarseness become evident. Worse yet, dry mouth can lead to cavities and gum disease. For all these reasons, patients should bring dry mouth to the attention of the dentist.
P.S. Xerostomia can be a side effect of a medication or the symptom of a variety of illnesses and medical treatments.