Are you suffering from xerostomia? You are if you have a chronic dry mouth. Xerostomia is the medical word for just that: dry mouth. Dry mouth often affects people as they age and can increase the risk for tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath. Saliva may just seem like spit to you, but it is important to your oral health. It keeps your oral mucosa moist, helps wash away food debris, and neutralizes acids that cause decay. Take the true or false quiz below to find out how much you know about xerostomia (dry mouth).
True or False?
1. True or False: Saliva flow decreases with age.
2. True or False: Saliva can help prevent tooth decay.
3. True or False: Some mouthwashes may contribute to dry mouth.
4. True or False: Kissing can help prevent cavities.
1. False: Saliva flow is not known to decrease with age, but numerous medications can cause dry mouth. In fact, up to 800 different drugs can cause xerostomia and as people age they tend to need medications for developing conditions.
2. True: Saliva contains calcium, phosphate, and bicarbonate. These three elements help neutralize harmful acids that cause tooth decay, and they also remineralize your tooth enamel helping to reverse early tooth decay.
3. True: Mouthwashes that contain alcohol can dry out your mouth. Alcohol may be liquid but it does not wet your whistle, instead it dehydrates your oral tissues.
4. True: Kissing is considered a naturally cleansing process because kissing increases saliva flow and saliva helps prevent cavities.