When there is an insufficient amount of saliva in the mouth, or when salivary glands do not function properly, individuals may begin to experience dry mouth. Medically referred to as Xerostomia, dry mouth is not a dental disease. However, saliva plays a critical role in the washing away of bacteria, neutralizing harmful acids, digestion and even keeping teeth clean. Thus, when there’s not enough saliva, individuals may develop a number of oral health problems. For this reason, dentists urge patients not to ignore dry mouth, as it is dangerous to one’s oral health.
Common contributors to dry mouth are prescription and over the counter medications. Notably, the most common are antihypertensives, antidepressants, painkillers, tranquilizers, diuretics and antihistamines, as reported by Know Your Teeth. Chemotherapy and radiation are also known to cause dry mouth, as are hormonal fluctuations, AIDS, diabetes and Sjogren’s syndrome. Even so, it’s important to contact your dentist if you’re experiencing dry mouth on a regular basis.
When the mouth is dry, it not only affects one’s ability to chew, taste and swallow, it allows bacteria and plaque to remain on teeth. Individuals are more likely to develop periodontal (gum) disease and cavities. Additionally, dry mouth can cause the tongue to become irritated and sensitive, leading to burning mouth syndrome. Finally, dry mouth contributes to bad breath, mouth sores, ulcers, infections in the mouth and frustration with wearing dentures.
What Will My Dentist Do?
A comprehensive examination and discussion is necessary to determine the cause of your dry mouth. Your dentist may ask if you have trouble speaking or swallowing. He may also ask if you experience any soreness in your mouth, or if you have a dry throat. Without question, your dentist is able to provide invaluable insight into combatting the effects of dry mouth and ensuring that you maintain good oral health. A number of over the counter treatments prove helpful to ease the symptoms associated with dry mouth. The following are a few other recommendations:
- Chew sugarless gum
- Do not drink alcohol or caffeine
- Do not smoke
- Avoid acidic foods and beverages
- Drink plenty of water
- Do not forego regular dental checkups
Offering modern, professional dentistry in Spokane Valley, Dr. C Family Dentistry values comfort, convenience and top quality dentistry. When it comes to dry mouth, most patients do not realize its effects on oral health. That’s why it’s imperative to keep up with regular dental visits, so that Dr. Cochran and the team can provide the insight you need to stay on top of your oral health. Has it been some time since you’ve seen the dentist? Are you experiencing symptoms of dry mouth? Do not delay—call Dr. C Family Dentistry today!
Posted on behalf of Dr. C Family Dentistry