Xerostomia, or dry mouth, happens when your saliva production decreases or you have diminished saliva levels. Dry mouth affects an estimated ten percent of people, which could mean you may be at a higher risk of advanced oral health threats. Saliva is the mouth’s natural way your teeth clean, protect, and preserve themselves. Our Albertville family dentists at Wall Street Dentistry explain what chronic dry mouth means for your oral health, how you can combat it, and how our team can help.
What causes dry mouth?
Although there are several causes for dry mouth, some of the most common are mouth breathing, dehydration, and tobacco use. Also, dry mouth may occur in patients who undergo cancer treatment or who take specific prescription drugs. Although our board-certified Albertville dentists assure patients that treatments are available for dry mouth, which treatment you need will depend on your particular case.
For example, dry mouth caused by dehydration requires more water consumption and limiting beverages such as coffee and alcohol. If tobacco is your dry mouth cause, seek a smoking cessation program or quit. Also, patients who have dry mouth as a medication side effect should contact their medical doctor and dentist to determine other possible medications with fewer side effects. Finally, mouth breathing while awake or asleep is a severe condition that could lead to systemic problems and raise your sleep apnea risk. Therefore, contact our Albertville dentists that treat mouth breathing for a consultation and specialized treatment plan.
Why is saliva flow so important?
A low saliva supply can be uncomfortable and cause a bad taste in your mouth, as well as foul-smelling breath. Saliva is crucial to your oral health function. It contains germ-killing compounds, like lysozyme and lactoferrin, that work to attack harmful bacteria. Tiny food particles and bacteria get washed away by saliva as it neutralizes mouth acids, protecting the durable outer tooth layer, your tooth enamel. Also, saliva repairs minor imperfections from everyday use and exposure to harmful bacteria and substances through remineralization. Therefore, our Albertville dentists who treat dry mouth explain that proper saliva production is vital to normal oral functions and health.
What are dry mouth consequences?
Harmful bacteria in your mouth responsible for cavity creation and gum disease proliferate tooth enamel when not rinsed away by saliva or water. Our experienced dentists in Albertville warn patients that as your mouth’s environment increases in acidity, more damage occurs to your tooth enamel without replenishment from saliva. Over time, imperfections and highly acidic conditions can lead to advanced oral infections such as cavities and periodontitis or progressive gum disease.
How can a dentist treat dry mouth?
The dentist will examine your teeth carefully to identify changes that could indicate a problem through regularly scheduled checkups. Then, we design a proactive and preventative treatment plan before severe damage occurs. Additional methods to help dry mouth conditions recommended by our dentists below can make navigating this condition more comfortable.
- Limit or avoid alcohol and caffeine consumption.
- Drink water during meals and throughout the day.
- Request oral rinse recommendations formulated to combat dry mouth.
- Speak with your medical doctor and dentist about medication side effects.
- Chew sugar-free gum or dissolve a sugar-free candy in your mouth to stimulate saliva flow.
- Try over-the-counter products like oral rinses designed for managing dry mouth.
Dentists in Albertville, Boaz, and Guntersville, Alabama
At Wall Street Dentistry, we encourage patients to uncover the problem causing their dry mouth, as the symptoms don’t often disappear willingly and could increase in severity if not addressed professionally. If you have questions about your dry mouth or would like to schedule a consultation with Wall Street Dentistry, feel free to call our office at (256) 878-0525 or book an appointment online today!