Mouth infection warning - why you should never ignore dry mouth

Dry mouth affected a third of people during the last week of December, a survey has revealed.

But, 28 per cent of people aren’t even aware that dry mouth is a condition that you could suffer from at some point in your lifetime, the survey by Biotène claimed.

The condition can affect peoples’ taste, and can lead to disturbed sleep.

Dry mouth symptoms include bad breath, a feeling of soreness in the mouth, stickiness to the touch and cracking at the corners of the mouth, the mouth looking red and parched, or having a pebbled look to the tongue.

GlaxoSmithKline’s, Medical Affairs Senior Scientist, Matthew Lambert, said: “Dry mouth is a persistent feeling that there is not enough saliva in the mouth, making talking and eating difficult or embarrassing.

“Saliva lubricates and prevents the mouth drying out.

“Saliva has an important role in keeping your mouth healthy.

“Reduced salivory flow can lead to mouth infections, dental decay, bad breath, and also disturb your sleep.”

Dry mouth can be caused by taking certain medications, including antidepressants, antihistamines, and diuretics.

About 80 per cent of commonly prescribed medications can cause dry mouth.

It could also be caused by diabetes, Sjögren’s syndrome, getting older and treatments for head and neck cancers.

Those most at risk of the condition are those aged between 25 to 34 years old, according to Biotène.

Drinking more fluids could help to reduce dry mouth symptoms, the NHS said. It suggested taking regular sips of cold water, or an unsweetened drink.

Alternatively, sucking on sugar-free sweets can stimulate the salivary glands to produce more saliva.

If these measures don’t help, you can use saliva substitutes to boost the moisture inside your mouth.

These can come as a spray, gel or lozenge, the NHS said. Biotène also offers toothpaste and mouthwash to treat dry mouth.