Do you suffer from dry mouth? What causes it and what to do about it.
Dry mouth. Everyone has experienced it at one time or another. That awful cotton mouth sensation. The kind of dry mouth I’m talking about is not just from having a few too many bevvies last night. I’m talking about the kind that occurs daily. Dry mouth is clinically known as xerostomia. Fancy word huh? And it can be a big problem for some people.
What is dry mouth?
Xerostomia or dry mouth is a lack of or insufficient saliva production. Sometimes there is not enough saliva or the consistency of your saliva may be thick and viscous. Both can be very uncomfortable and create other issues. As we age saliva production does slow naturally but there are many other causes.
What causes xerostomia?
Dry mouth has many causes. Dehydration, mouth breathing, medications, cancer treatment, aging, Sjogren’s syndrome and smoking can all cause dry mouth. And in turn dry mouth causes many other conditions and problems. If you experience dry mouth talk to your dental professional. They will help you determine the cause and help you manage or eliminate it.
Why is dry mouth an issue?
Dry mouth can create sore gums, sensitive teeth, difficulty swallowing food, tooth decay and bad breath. Saliva is very important to our well being. Not to mention a happy, healthy comfortable mouth. Our tissues and tongue are meant to be moist. Saliva is part of our first line of defense against oral disease and tooth decay. The bacteria is contains starts metabolizing our foods and it also protects us against bacterial and viral invaders that may enter through the mouth. Meaning if your mouth is dry you may experience sinus problems, upper respiratory infections, and more than your share of colds.
People with a dry mouth experience more tooth decay.
Without enough saliva you are higher risk for cavities, gum disease and eventual tooth loss. Saliva contains helpful bacteria and minerals. Both of which our teeth and gums need. If you don’t have enough saliva or it is too thick or viscous you will not have an ideal bacterial flora. This means there aren’t enough of the good guys and there may be too many bad guys. Plaque is also stickier and harder to brush off. The creates an opportunity for opportunistic infections and an overgrowth of unhealthy bacteria. Without enough minerals the teeth are unable to ward off acid attack and may become sensitive and develop cavities. People who suffer from dry mouth should have more frequent teeth cleaning and need to brush and floss more often to prevent cavities. Talk to your dental professional to find out your ideal dental care plan.
What can you do to prevent dry mouth?
- Hydrate. Drink lots of water. Avoid things that dehydrate like some coffees, teas and alcohol. FYI pop does not hydrate and contains obscene amounts of refined sugar. The ideal amount for each person depends on their individual condition and how active they are. Each person should have 2-3 liters of water daily.
- Know the side effects of your medications. There may be another medication option.
- Chew sugar free gum or use sugar free candy. Chewing gum or sucking candy stimulates saliva production. Choosing a product that contains xylitol goes an extra step and prevents the bacterial action that creates cavities.
- Avoid spicy foods and products that contain alcohol.
- Use a humidifier at night and rinse with water often. Click here to find other natural remedies
- Talk to your dental professional or me about available products. We live in an amazing time. There are all kinds of new products available to help manage dry mouth and it’s symptoms. Rinses, pastes, probiotics and pastilles oh my:) The choices are endless. Work with your dental professional to find out what will work for you.
You don’t have to live with dry mouth or the symptoms. There are many things that can be done. Questions or comments? Please call 519-736-1100 or email email@example.com. Sign up for my newsletter to get my FREE Top 10 Tips for a Healthier Whiter Smile.