Dry mouth is more than just feeling a little parched. It’s a real medical condition known as xerostomia and it’s a complicated matter. Charlotte NC dentists offer this explanation to make the causes and effects of dry mouth simpler to understand.
First of all, what causes dry mouth?
Dry mouth, or oral dryness, can be caused by one or more of the following health factors:
- Hormonal changes or imbalances
- Strenuous workout routines
- Antihistamine or allergy medications, prescription and over the counter
- Chemotherapy or radiation
- Diabetes, Sjögren’s syndrome, lupus, and other systemic health conditions
- Mouth breathing, breathing through the mouth
- Smoking, alcohol use, excessive caffeine intake
- Obstructions or blockage in the salivary ducts
Okay, now that we know what causes it, what should we know about our oral health risks?
- Decreased saliva creates an acidic atmosphere in the mouth, which is the perfect breeding ground for oral bacteria.
- Teeth can become weak and vulnerable to cavities without the protective qualities found in saliva.
- Food is more difficult to chew and swallow without the lubrication that comes from saliva. This contributes to digestive problems and more strain in the teeth.
- Food particles that are not flushed away by an adequate salivary flow can remain in the mouth and lead to bad breath.
So, dry mouth can be caused by lots of health conditions, and it can cause lots of dental problems. What can we do about it?
- Sip water throughout the day to combat dryness, rinse food particles away, and neutralize acids.
- Chew sugarless gum between meals to stimulate the salivary glands.
- Avoid tobacco, caffeine, and alcohol. Also, limit sugary or acidic foods and beverages.
- Use saliva substitutes at night or during the day, as needed.
- Charlotte NC dentists recommend regularly scheduled appointments for checkups and advice.
To learn more about dry mouth, or to find out if you suffer from this condition, contact the dentist and schedule an appointment today.