07 Aug Can dry mouth lead to cavities?
When you fail to produce sufficient saliva, you are suffering from xerostomia (dry mouth). We need saliva to act as a natural rinse to wash away food particles, assist in digestion, allow us to taste foods, speak clearly, and very importantly to help prevent decay by neutralizing the acids from bacteria that grows on teeth from the foods and beverages we consume.
Since dry mouth can lead to cavities as well as other uncomfortable and problematic conditions, it is important to discover what you can do to relieve dry mouth. Of course, the solution may be dictated by whatever is causing the problem.
If you are taking a decongestant for sinus or allergy symptoms, one of the side effects can be dryness. Unless these drugs are needed frequently, you may find relief by chewing sugar free gum or sucking on sugar free candy to increase saliva production.
Illness and treatments that affect the salivary glands are often permanent; a saliva substitute might provide relief. Medications needed for the long term that result in a dry mouth may be able to be changed to an alternative product that doesn’t produce this particular side effect.
Dehydration from a fever, exercise, or spending time in a hot climate can lead to dryness … drinking lots of fluids is usually the best solution (water is ideal).
Identifying whether or not your dry mouth is temporary or chronic may require some trial and error by making changes to your lifestyle or medications. For example, smokers with a dry mouth may find that eliminating tobacco may relieve mouth dryness.
To maintain your oral health it is important to brush twice daily with a fluoridated toothpaste, floss every day, use a fluoridated oral rinse if recommended by your dental provider and see your dentist every six months for cleaning, polishing, and a dental exam.
Contact our office today to get more information!