Most everyone experiences a case of dry mouth on occasion, some to the point at which that parched mouth makes it difficult to swallow, speak or eat. Known as “xerostomia,” dry mouth is a decrease in the amount of saliva produced in one’s mouth. In fact, salivary flow tends to decrease in most individuals as they age, and many people experience excessive dry mouth due to age-related medical conditions and medication side effects.
In the past few decades researchers have found a definitive link between oral health and specific diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and rheumatoid arthritis, to name a few. Researchers have determined that stress can lead to or exacerbate a number of oral health problems.
They have also determined that the link often represents a two-way street, in that controlling the condition of one, leads to improvements in the other. For example, when gum disease is treated it usually results in a lower demand for insulin in diabetics, while better control of diabetes generally leads to reduced gum disease inflammation.