Dry mouth is also known as xerostomia, and this happens when the salivary glands do not produce enough saliva in the mouth. In some cases, dry mouth is temporary, and can be caused by dehydration. In other cases, dry mouth is a chronic problem, and many struggle with this issue. Dry mouth can be caused by medical conditions such as diabetes, or can be caused by an infected salivary gland.
When we do not have enough saliva production this can cause oral health issues. Saliva plays an important role in our oral health, and helps to protect our teeth and gums from acids or erosion. The saliva washes away bacteria or food, and keeps our teeth and mouth healthy.
What issues can dry mouth cause?
Dry mouth can cause many issues including gum disease, tooth decay, staining, and erosion of enamel. When bacteria are not washed away, and plaque and tartar collect, this can cause gum disease, and in turn this increases the risk of tooth decay and cavities. If not treated gum disease can cause tooth deterioration, or even tooth loss.
When your saliva production is low the bacteria and acids stay on your teeth longer, and this can lead to tooth decay or enamel erosion. If the acid and plaque levels are high, your teeth can become discolored or stained. It is always important to attend your regular dental exams and cleaning appointments to ensure your teeth and mouth are healthy, and do not have any decay.
How can I treat dry mouth?
The good news is there are ways to treat dry mouth and restore the health of your teeth and gums. Depending on the level of damage will determine what treatment is required. Restoration options include fillings, crowns, or gum treatments.
Tips to prevent dry mouth
- Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water
- Use an over-the-counter saliva treatment or substitute
- Use a humidifier while sleeping to increase moisture in the air
- Chew sugar-free gum to help saliva production
- Stay on top of your oral health routine, and brush and floss daily to prevent plaque and bacteria buildup
Ready to find out more?
If you are suffering from dry mouth, and have concerns about your oral health, we encourage you to contact Junior Smiles Pediatric Dentistry. Scheduling a consultation with our team is the first step towards healthy teeth and gums. Our doctors will perform a thorough exam, and provide treatment recommendations that work for you. Dry mouth can lead to serious issues, and should always be addressed right away.
To schedule your appointment, please contact Junior Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, and our friendly staff will be happy to assist you.