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How To Cope With Dry Mouth


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Dry mouth ("xerostomia") is a lack of saliva in the mouth.  

  • Dry mouth can be a side effect of drugs or chemotherapy or of a health condition.
  • Saliva inhibits the growth of bacteria that prevents fungal infections in the mouth. Dry mouth increases the risk for infection. (Saliva also lubricates the mouth which permits us to speak and swallow.)
  • Dry mouth can also cause severe tooth decay or malnutrition because of difficulty eating.

How To Test For Dry Mouth

  • On your own: If you can chew a dry cracker and swallow it easily, you are probably producing normal amounts of saliva and do not have dry mouth. 
  • Your doctor: There is a test that can measure the amount of your saliva. During the test, the doctor places a cup over your parotid duct.  offsite linkHe or she then stimulates salivary flow with a citric acid soultion. Saliva is then collected.

What To Do About Dry Mouth

  • There are a variety of suggestions worth considering to deal with dry mouth. To learn about them, click here. 
  • To learn about foods and drinks that are easy to swallow, click here.


  • If you have difficulty swallowing, click here
  • If you experience mouth sores, click here for information about dealing with them effectively. 
  • To learn how to keep your mouth, throat and gums healthy to prevent future problems, click here.

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