Your dentist explains that if you suffer from dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, it can affect your oral health. Dry mouth is more than just that thirsty feeling you get when you are dehydrated. Dry mouth makes you produce less saliva, if any at all. If you are producing saliva, it will be stringy and thick. Your saliva helps you digest your food while flushing away dangerous bacteria and food particles while preventing dental caries and tooth decay.
According to Colgate, when you don’t produce enough saliva, the skin around your mouth and your lips will get tight and dry. Because of this, your lips may crack and you may begin to get little sores in the same area. If you suffer from dry mouth, your tongue may also feel dry and rough. Dry mouth can also cause problems with speaking or swallowing.
Because your saliva isn’t getting rid of the food particles and bacteria in your mouth as it should, you may suffer from chronic bad breath or halitosis. Chronic dry mouth may also cause you to become hoarse or produce an annoying tickle at the back of your throat.
Although a number of things can cause dry mouth, medications are one of the main reasons as there are over 400 types of prescription and over the counter drugs that can cause chronic dry mouth. Some of these prescription drugs include medications for an overactive bladder and high blood pressure. If you are taking a non- prescription drug for colds, allergies or the flu, you may also be experiencing dry mouth.
You may also suffer from dry mouth if you have recently had cancer radiation as it can hurt your salivary glands. Chemotherapy treatments can also cause your saliva to thicken while making your mouth feel extremely dry.
One of the biggest causes of dry mouth can be prevented if you kick the habit. Although smoking, cigars, pipes cigarettes or using other types of tobacco products are not the cause of dry mouth, tobacco can certainly make it worse.
If you have dry mouth, it could cause tooth decay, which is why it is extremely important to practice good oral health habits that include brushing twice and flossing once a day. It is also important to enjoy a healthy diet and see your dentist regularly. Try sipping water through the day and rinse after you eat. Sugar free gum can also help your mouth produce more saliva.
Although dry mouth cannot always be prevented, your dentist may be able to help. Schedule an appointment with your dentist today and discuss some of your options if you are suffering from dry mouth.