Chronic dry mouth, also known as xerostomic, is the result of inadequate saliva flow in your mouth, and saliva is very important to your mouth health. If you suffer from regular instances of dry mouth, you may find the condition annoying, but there’s also larger health issues at play that you need to be aware of. Below, we take a look at why dry mouth can lead to a number of different mouth issues, and what you should do if you have dry mouth.
Causes and Issues Associated With Dry Mouth
As we mentioned in the intro, dry mouth is caused by inadequate saliva production, but what causes saliva production to slow? It can be caused by a few things, but the most common causes are:
- A side effect of taking certain medications
- Diabetes or diabetes treatment
- A side effect of a stroke
- Nerve damage
- A side effect of cancer therapy
- Poor nutrition
- Natural aging
- Tobacco and alcohol use
Dry mouth doesn’t just lead to an annoying sensation in your mouth. For starters, saliva helps to regulate the amount of bacteria in your mouth, so if you have inadequate saliva production, you may have an overabundance of unhealthy bacteria in your mouth. This can lead to excess plaque and tooth decay, mouth sores, bad breath, difficulty swallowing and an increased risk of infection. Don’t just ignore the symptoms of dry mouth, seek active treatment with the help of a dentist like Dr. Brooks.
Treating Chronic Dry Mouth
Treatment of dry mouth begins by pinpointing the root cause of the condition. For example, if poor nutrition is to blame, setting the patient up with a nutritionist or getting them educational materials on how to help change their diet can help address the root cause. For others, treatment involves switching medications to find one that doesn’t produce such side effects. Pinpointing the root cause of dry mouth is done by taking a look at your medical and dental history, asking about your condition and by conducting a physical exam of the mouth.
Other treatment options that may be pursued include:
- Oral rinses
- Medications to increase saliva production
- Mouthgear to keep your teeth protected when you sleep
- Increasing water intake throughout the day
- Chewing sugar-free gum to help spur saliva production
- Using a humidifier and sleeping with your mouth closed at night
- Avoiding tobacco, alcohol or some caffeinated products
So if you find that you’re regularly dealing with dry mouth conditions, bring it up to your dentist, because it can lead to costly and problematic health issues down the road if not actively treated. To talk to a dentist about your dry mouth issue, contact Dr. Brooks’ office today.