If you suffer from dry mouth, it’s important to understand the dangers this condition poses to your oral health. If you have already experienced damage from dry mouth, restorative dentistry treatments can reverse damage and restore the appearance of your smile. Denver cosmetic dentist David Redford offers this overview to help you understand the dangers of dry mouth and how you protect your smile.
Dry Mouth Causes and Symptoms
Dry mouth is a condition in which inadequate saliva is produced and it can occur for a number of reasons. For some, dry mouth is temporary, caused by dehydration, while for others it may be a chronic condition. The cause of chronic dry mouth can be a result of medication, tobacco use, or damaged salivary glands. Some of the possible causes of dry mouth include:
- Breathing dry air
- Damaged or removed salivary glands
- Tobacco use
- Certain medications
- Oral infection or disease
The symptoms of dry mouth vary from mild to severe. Some dry mouth sufferers find symptoms to be mildly irritating while others may experience painful symptoms like cracked lips and split corners of the mouth. Some common symptoms of dry mouth include:
- Constant thirst
- Dry throat and nasal passages
- Dry, cracked lips
- Split or sore corners of the mouth
- Dry feeling mouth and tongue
- Difficulty tasting foods
The Dangers of Dry Mouth
If untreated, dry mouth can lead to many oral health problems. Without adequate saliva, the mouth is left vulnerable to decay, tooth discoloration, infection, and many other issues. Saliva is important to oral health as it helps neutralize acids within the mouth and washes away plaque and foods particles. Some of the dangers of dry mouth include:
- Gum disease: Gum disease often goes hand-in-hand with dry mouth. This is because, without sufficient saliva, food particles, plaque, and bacteria are easily able to gather along the gum line, leading to gum disease.
- Tooth decay: Tooth decay is another danger of dry mouth. This is because bacteria, plaque, and food particles are not washed away with the saliva.
- Oral sores: Dry mouth can lead to oral sores, or overall discomfort and pain.
- Tooth discoloration: Dry mouth puts the teeth at increased risk of discoloration since foods are not washed away from the teeth as with normal saliva production.
- Bad breath: Bad breath is a common problem associated with dry mouth.
Tips For Relieving Dry Mouth
Treating dry mouth begins with determining the cause, which can be determined by your dentist or general physician. Despite the cause, many of the symptoms of dry mouth can be relieved with these tips:
- Fight dehydration by drinking plenty of water
- Rinse the mouth with water after eating and between brushings
- Reduce air dryness with a humidifier
- Help encourage saliva production by chewing sugar-free gum
- Avoid starchy foods that can reduce saliva production
- Use an over-the-counter saliva substitute
Schedule a Consultation
Seek treatment for dry mouth today! Schedule a consultation with Dr. Redford to find out more about dry mouth treatment options.