When is Dry Mouth a Problem?

Glass of waterDry mouth is a common problem that has many causes. Most often dry mouth is caused by being a side effect of medication you’re taking. It can also be caused by another health issue or dehydration. Often dry mouth caused by these issues are temporary and will go away. Chronic dry mouth, on the other hand, can be the catalyst to potentially serious oral health problems. It is the chronic dry mouth that needs attention and treatment before it’s too late.

Chronic dry mouth may not be seen as anything more than a nuisance, but an effective treatment by your dentist is needed if it’s been an issue for a long period of time. What is often seen as an inconvenience can wreak havoc on your mouth. Some of the dental issues chronic dry mouth causes include:

  • gingivitis (gum disease)
  • tooth decay
  • mouth infections, such as thrush
  • makes wearing dentures difficult

All these more serious oral health issues typically occur from the lack of saliva due to dry mouth. Saliva coats, protects and cleanses your teeth and gums. Without this natural oral defense
system, your mouth can become a breeding ground for bacteria and weakened gums and teeth.

The symptoms of dry mouth include:

  • A dry or sticky feeling in the mouth
  • Frequent, unquenchable thirst
  • Sores in the mouth, at the corners of the mouth or cracked lips
  • A dry feeling throat
  • A burning or tingling sensation in the mouth and on the tongue
  • A dry, red, raw tongue
  • Problems speaking, tasting, chewing, and swallowing
  • Hoarseness
  • Dry nasal passages
  • Sore throat
  • Bad breath
  • Red, bleeding gums, gingivitis, and periodontitis
  • Tooth decay—especially around the gum line or on the root surfaces

How is Chronic Dry Mouth Treated?

Though there is not a cure for dry mouth, there are multiple treatment options available to alleviate the discomfort and slow the damage of dry mouth to your mouth. We can provide you with the best option for you based on the severity of your dry mouth. Below are the treatment options available ranging from preserving the little saliva you do produce to cavity prevention:

If your mouth is still producing some saliva, it is important to preserve it. Treatment options for this include avoiding foods, drinks and living habits that can dry your mouth out. Lifestyle habits such as breathing through the mouth and consuming excessive caffeine, alcohol and tobacco products will dry out your mouth.  Along with limiting these lifestyle choices, using a humidifier can also help keep your mouth from drying out.

  • To complement the lack of saliva, you can also try saliva substitutes. Drinking more water, sucking on ice and using an alcohol free mouthwash can add moisture to your mouth. Over the counter saliva substitutes and oral lubricants can also help.
  • Another way to make up for the lack of saliva include saliva stimulation treatments. Chewing sugar-free hard candies or gum can help stimulate saliva production. Prescription medications such as Evoxac and Salagen help.
  • Dry mouth provides the perfect environment for cavities and gum disease to occur. To control the growth of plaque, frequent appointments with us is necessary. We’ll recommend to you a low-sugar diet, daily use of fluoride treatments such as prescription tooth paste and antimicrobial rinses.

At Masterpiece Smiles, we’ll help reduce the discomfort of your dry mouth and prevent further damage done to your mouth, teeth and gums. For more information about dry mouth and other oral restoration services we offer, please contact us and set up an appointment.


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