Dry mouth or xerostomia is an extremely common symptom presented by patients. It is a condition that may have long or short-term effects on you. It is caused by the salivary glands in your mouth not working in the way they should normally. Dry mouth may be a symptom of stress or the result of medication you are taking and can therefore be short-term. Smoking can also cause dry mouth. In the long-term a dry mouth may be irreversible caused by medical treatments such as radiotherapy or by a medical condition such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis. Dry mouth can have a dramatic effect upon a patient. You will experience difficulty in every day functions such as talking, eating, swallowing and sleeping. If you are a denture wearer you may find it uncomfortable, and find that it does not fit very well. You will probably feel thirsty most of the time and dry mouth will affect your sense of taste. You may also feel a burning sensation in your mouth and develop cracked lips. Natural saliva production is essential to your oral health as it washes away debris and plaque which cause tooth decay and your gums may be swollen, sore and sometimes they may bleed. Dry mouth frequently causes bad breath in sufferers. If your dry mouth symptoms have an identifiable cause, such as medication, it may be possible to rectify the problem – for these types of reason your symptoms may be short-term. Temporarily, sucking sugar-free sweets or an ice cube can relieve dry mouth but is important to introduce a method of sustained moisture. This can be done with moisture gels or saliva substitutes like the products from the companies Biotene and BioXtra. These products will not only relieve the dry mouth feeling but supplement the protective elements in the saliva by releasing enzymes. These specialist products are available as a gum, mouthwash, toothpaste, moisturising gel, gel mouth spray and sucking tablet. Used daily they will help keep the dry mouth moist, comfortable and healthy.