What is Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)?

What is dry mouth? It's a very common problem. And as we all get older, which I am doing as I speak right now, we tend to produce less and less saliva. In fact, from the age of 25 on, it's totally downhill as far as saliva production.

So the lack of saliva can be many factors. One is physical, which is very rare. It could be a problem with our salivary glands and the ducts which draw saliva from those glands into our mouth. My little friend here will sort of demonstrate. There are salivary glands in the bottom of our mouths. There are also salivary glands on the side of our mouth. And if you do have a problem with the ducts and have a stone inside those ducts — it's called a syalolith — don't worry, it's not on the final exam. You will have a very large swelling as the saliva builds up. So that's how you know if there's a physical problem.

But there are also foods that cause that problem, alcohol being the major one. Alcohol, chemically speaking, is a drying agent. And after a six pack of beer, your mouth will become dry. You may not realize it, but your mouth will become dry. Smoking has the same effect. Smoking anything will have the same effect. And there's a condition that is very common now, especially in Colorado and the state of Washington, called cotton mouth. And that's from smoking marijuana. Again, smoke makes your mouth dry.

Now, the side effect of medications is an increasing problem because, as we get older, people are taking multiple types of medications. 75% of prescription medications have dry mouth as a side effect, primarily anti-histamines, anti-depressants, high blood pressure medication. In fact, we have lists and lists of those medications in my book. It's called The Bad Breath Bible. And you can download a copy for free at TheraBreath.com or at BadBreathBible.com. And you can read through all those medications. It's very informative, and quite often, your physician or your pharmacist does not have time anymore to tell you about those medications. But we will do that for you.

Now, one of the other problems is many of the oral products that are highly advertised on television are making your mouth dry because they contain alcohol. In fact, the leading mouthwash is 27% alcohol, more than an entire six pack of beer. And trust me, the six pack of beer tastes better. I've done my own research.

And almost every toothpaste on the market contains an ingredient called sodium lauryl sulfate. That's a fancy term for soap. They wouldn't put soap on the ingredient list, but they'll put the fancy chemical term sodium lauryl sulfate because it's soap. It's put in there to make it foam up. Some marketing guy on Madison Avenue had the great idea to make it foam up so that you will think something is happening. It's doing nothing except making your mouth dry and actually causing canker sores. So if you want to make sure your mouth does not get dry, avoid alcoholic mouthwash and avoid sodium lauryl sulfate in toothpaste.

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