From Our 2010 Archives

Health Tip: Understanding Dry Mouth

(HealthDay News) -- Dry mouth usually affects older adults, often as a side effect of a health condition or certain drugs including decongestants, antihistamines, pain relievers and diuretics, says the American Dental Association.

Symptoms of dry mouth may include a sore throat, a burning sensation, hoarse voice, nasal dryness and difficulty speaking and swallowing. If frequent dry mouth isn't treated, it can lead to tooth damage and decay.

Saliva is needed to keep the mouth moist, get rid of food build-up, and neutralize acids created by plaque that damage the teeth, the association says.

Dry mouth also can irritate oral tissues. This can lead to inflammation and increased risk of infection. See your dentist for prompt treatment, the ADA advises.

-- Diana Kohnle

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