What Your Dentist Can Do for Your Dry Mouth

Dry Mouth

It’s an uncomfortable feeling when your mouth is dry. When the problem persists, though, it’s more than an annoyance. It’s a medical condition.

Chronic dry mouth, also called xerostomia, can make it hard to chew, eat or even talk. It can also lead to significant oral health problems. If you’re plagued by dry mouth, it’s a good time to make an appointment with your dentist. They may be able to pinpoint the cause and suggest ways to spur more spit.

Why Is Dry Mouth A Problem?

Dry mouth negatively affects your quality of life. People who are short on saliva may feel constantly parched and hoarse. They may also find everyday activities like eating painful.

When you have dry mouth, it’s not just the lack of lubrication that hampers eating. Saliva is a crucial part of the digestive process. It helps you taste, chew and swallow. It also releases digestive enzymes that help break down food.

Dry mouth is not confined to older adults, nor is it a normal sign of aging. Still, nearly 20% percent of seniors experiencing chronic dry mouth. So it’s concerning that a dearth of saliva can cause a loss of appetite.

Dry Mouth Can Wreak Havoc On Our Dental Health

Saliva is crucial to our oral health. It neutralizes the enamel-eroding acids we consume as food and drinks or that are produced by harmful bacteria in our mouths. It helps wash away plaque, that sticky white coating that forms on your teeth each day and that is full of bacteria.

Saliva also aids in washing down food particles before they can break down into the sugar bacteria feed on. Further, saliva is rich in minerals that are used for the protection and repair of teeth’s enamel, including:

  • Calcium
  • Fluoride
  • Phosphates

All this serves to ward off issues like enamel-erosion, cavities, tooth decay, gum disease and even fungal infections of the mouth. When you don’t produce enough spit, it’s like losing a bodyguard for your teeth. It can also cause other dental difficulties, like making it hard to wear dentures.

How Can My Dentist Help With My Dry Mouth?

Your dentist can work with you to pinpoint why you may have dry mouth. Common causes include stress, dehydration, cancer therapies like chemotherapy and radiation treatments. X can also be triggered by certain immune diseases including lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and Sjogren’s syndrome.

Taking certain medications is one of the most common causes of xerostomia. There are some 500 drugs both pharmaceutical and over-the-counter that can cause dry mouth, according to the American Dental Association. These include certain:

  • Anti-anxiety drugs
  • Antidepressants
  • Antihistamines
  • Blood pressure medications
  • Decongestants
  • Diuretics
  • Medications for overactive bladder
  • Muscle relaxers
  • Pain meds

Your dentist may recommend you see your doctor, who can assess your prescriptions in light of your issues with dry mouth. Your dentist may also have suggestions regarding lifestyle changes you can make, such as:

  • Avoiding alcohol
  • Brushing and flossing regularly with fluoride toothpaste
  • Eliminating coffee, tea and other caffeinated beverages
  • Drinking more water
  • Reducing your sugar intake
  • Using sugar-free gum/mints to stimulate saliva production

Whatever you’d like to learn more about, from dry mouth to dentures, the experts at Castle Rock Dental are ready to help you. Contact us today to make your appointment.

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