A dry mouth is exactly what it sounds like. The condition occurs when the amount of saliva in your mouth is reduced, which causes dryness and other forms of discomfort. It can interfere with speech, make swallowing difficult, worsen oral hygiene, and cause bad breath (halitosis). Absence of saliva results in a decrease in acidity and an increase in bacterial growth.
If you have a dry mouth, it is important to inform your dentist and seek a treatment plan. When left untreated for a long time, dry mouth can cause tooth decay and candidiasis (fungal infection). Nobody likes the feeling of a dry mouth. See a dentist in Uptown Phoenix, AZ, today to explore your treatment options.
What are the causes of dry mouth?
A dry mouth occurs when your salivary glands stop functioning correctly, slowing saliva production, and your mouth becomes dry. There could be many causes of dry mouth, including
dehydration and mouth breathing. Other causes are listed below:
- Drugs: Drugs or medications are the most common causes of dry mouth. There are hundreds of prescription drugs that can cause this condition. So, if you are experiencing it, talk to your dentist about the medicines you are currently taking.
- Radiation therapy: If you are currently receiving radiation therapy for head and neck cancer, it could be the reason for your dry mouth. Radiation can damage the salivary glands and cause permanent dryness.
Other less common causes of dry mouth include bodywide disorders, such as Diabetes or HIV infection.
Effects of low saliva on your oral health
Saliva does not usually get the recognition it deserves, but it does much work for the human body. Here are some of the amazing functions of saliva:
- It is the beginning of the digestion process. Lack of saliva causes problems in digestion.
- It neutralizes the acidity in your mouth produced by food and bacteria.
- It helps clean the inside of your mouth by rinsing off the bacteria and food particles.
- It repairs and demineralizes weak tooth enamel.
Treatment for dry mouth
The treatment for dry mouth depends on the underlying reason for the condition. Sometimes dry mouth can be cured by adjusting a few medications. That being said, you can relieve the symptoms of dry mouth by taking a few steps:
- Avoid sugary, caffeinated, and alcoholic drinks.
- Avoid spicy and salty foods.
- Chew sugarless gum.
- Use a non-alcoholic mouthwash.
- Drink enough water.
- Drink water with meals to aid in chewing and swallowing.
- Use a humidifier while sleeping.
- Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste and maintain oral hygiene.