A chronic dry mouth can be a frustrating condition as it makes it difficult to swallow food and even speak at times. As many as 1 in 4 adults experience some degree of dry mouth. However, this common oral health condition should never be ignored because a lack of saliva in your mouth can lead to other dental problems.
Why is Dry Mouth a Cause for Alarm?
Adequate levels of saliva in your mouth will not only keep you comfortable while swallowing or talking, but it is essential to keeping your teeth and gums healthy as well. Saliva helps wash away food or bacteria in your mouth and it neutralizes oral acids. If your saliva production is low, then you are three times more likely to develop cavities. Besides your vulnerability to cavities, a chronically dry mouth can be an invitation to gum disease and it can also be the reason for your persistent bad breath.
What Causes Dry Mouth?
There are many culprits to dry mouth. Prescription medications are among the most common, especially if you take multiple medications. Chemotherapy and radiation often lead to more severe cases of dry mouth. In addition, certain diseases like diabetes, anxiety, autoimmune disease, stroke, depression, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s can all trigger dry mouth symptoms. Whatever the cause of your dry mouth, it is important that you let your dentist address and manage the issue. A dry mouth may require you to take extra steps at home regarding your oral hygiene routine or you may need to visit your dentist more frequently for exams. Ignoring a dry mouth can lead to more serious and costly dental problems.
What Can a Dentist Do?
Your dentist can help you determine a treatment plan to combat your ongoing battle with dry mouth and ensure your teeth and gums are maintained properly. There are products such as special mouth sprays, oral moisturizing lubricants, rinses and toothpastes that a dentist can recommend to ease your dry mouth symptoms. If you find that water is not enough to give your mouth the moisture it demands, see your dentist for help.