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Dry Mouth Dangers: Options for Care and Prevention

By Dr. Silvers on March 02, 2015


A woman drinking coffee while outdoorsAt Silvers Family Dental Care here in Harrisburg, we never take any kind of dental health issues for granted. This is why we offer comprehensive restorative dentistry to improve dental health and wellness as well as cosmetic dentistry to enhance smile aesthetics.

One problem that many patients don't realize can be serious is dry mouth. Let's take a moment right now to go over the basics of this particular dental health issue.

What is dry mouth?

Dry mouth refers to the lack of saliva in the mouth at any given time. These situations are often temporary, though there are instances in which a person may suffer from chronic or persistent dry mouth.

Some of the most common causes of dry mouth include:

  • Stress, nervousness, and anxiety
  • Blockages of the salivary glands
  • Dehydration
  • Consumption of alcoholic beverages
  • Use of tobacco products
  • The natural aging process

Dry Mouth Can Make Speaking and Eating Difficult

A minor danger of dry mouth (more of an inconvenience), people who lack saliva in their mouths find it difficult to chew and speak. This is not particularly bad for temporary cases of dry mouth, but when the dry mouth is persistent, major issues with basic communication and getting sufficient nourishment can arise.

Dry Mouth Makes Bad Breath Much Worse

Your saliva helps remove food particles from the teeth and also carries away dead cells located along the insides of the cheeks and other parts of the mouth. When there's no saliva present, these dead cells are allowed to remain and fester, leading to breath that is much worse.

Dry Mouth Leads to Accelerated Tooth Decay and Gum Disease

Saliva helps remineralize the teeth and keep tooth structure strong and healthy. When there is no saliva in the mouth, this process of remineralization does not occur. The dry mouth also leads to ideal conditions for oral bacteria to thrive. This means that both tooth decay and gum disease will progress much faster.

Dry Mouth Could Be the Sign of a Serious Health Issue

Perhaps the biggest danger related to dry mouth is that it might be the sign of a serious health issue. A number of conditions such as oral cancer lead to dry mouth. If you notice dry mouth combined with lesions or pain of the jaw, gums, or teeth, be sure to meet with your dentist or a general practitioner in order to have the issue examined.

Treatments for Dry Mouth

Some dry mouth treatments are relatively simple. For blockages of the salivary glands, some dentists recommend that patients suck on sour candies. This helps promote the production of saliva that helps push the blockages out. Other treatments for dry mouth will involve the use of artificial saliva products. These mouth moisture items come in spray, gel, or lozenge form.

Various restorative dentistry treatments can be used to address the damage done by dry mouth, such as tooth decay and gum disease.

Prevention of Dry Mouth

To prevent dry mouth, it's ideal for patients to remain well-hydrated and to avoid alcoholic beverages when possible. Just having a glass of water handy can make a major difference with regard to moisture in the mouth and your overall sense of wellness.

Contact Silvers Family Dental Care

To learn more about treatments for dry mouth and what you can do to prevent it, be sure to schedule a consultation at our family dental care center today. We at Silvers Family Dental Care will help you address any dental health issues you may be facing and find the best treatment to enhance your dental health.

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