Saliva plays a significant role in maintaining healthy smiles, and it does so by washing away food debris and bacteria. If you have dry mouth, a condition known as xerostomia, you’re at risk for a host of oral health complications. Your trusted team at Hebron Family Dentistry will create a fully customized dry mouth treatment plan to provide you with long-lasting relief!
Dry mouth develops when the salivary glands don’t produce normal saliva levels. Here’s a look at some of its causes:
- The natural aging process
- Smoking and excessive caffeine or alcohol intake
- Sleep apnea and nasal congestion
- Nerve damage
- Chemotherapy or radiation therapy
- Head and neck injuries
- Some prescription or over-the-counter medications such as antihistamines and decongestants
- Some medical conditions, including stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and autoimmune disorders, including Sjogren’s syndrome
Symptoms of dry mouth often include increased thirst, a sticky, uncomfortable sensation in the mouth, thick and stringy saliva, a sore throat, a hoarse voice, and a dry or grooved tongue. Patients sometimes report difficulty chewing and swallowing, changes in smell and taste, trouble wearing dentures, and bad breath (halitosis).
Saliva is the first line of defense in maintaining your oral health. It not only washes away food debris but also neutralizes acids. Chronic dry mouth can affect bacteria balance in the mouth over time, which elevates the risk of developing oral infections such as thrush. It also raises the risk for tooth decay, gum disease, cracked lips, mouth sores, and a host of dental problems.
If your dry mouth is a side effect of medications or a result of a health condition, seek medical advice from your primary care physician. Switching your medications or treating any underlying medical concerns may help.
Things you can do to help include sipping on water throughout the day to stay hydrated, breathing through your nose instead of the mouth, sucking on hard candy, chewing sugarless gum, refraining from smoking, and cutting down on caffeine and alcohol intake. Make sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste to minimize damage to your teeth.
Depending on your unique condition, your trusted team at Hebron Family Dentistry may recommend a special oral rinse or prescribe medication that stimulates saliva production.
Contact Hebron Family Dentistry in Hebron, KY, to learn more about the causes and treatment of dry mouth. Dr. Watson and her team will work with you to develop a dry mouth treatment plan to combat your dry mouth and safeguard your oral health. Call us and schedule your appointment today!