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iVillage: Oral Fixations: What Your Mouth Can Say About Your Health

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Oral Oddity: Dry Mouth

Might mean:

You have Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease in which the body cannot produce enough moisture, such as saliva or tears, says Maier. With Sjögren's, he explains, the body's immune system mistakenly attacks tear ducts and saliva glands, leading to chronically dry eyes and mouth. Parched pout aside, a dry mouth can also up a person’s risk of cavities and other dental problems, Messina explains, since saliva bathes teeth, helping to keep decay-causing bacteria at bay. Although the mouth is one of the areas affected, this condition is typically treated by an ophthalmologist. “They’ll likely administer a saliva and tear production test to reach a formal diagnosis,” says Maier. "While, there’s no cure, there are a number of prescription medications available to treat symptoms.

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