How Untreated Dry Mouth Can Damage Your Oral Health and What to Do About It

How Untreated Dry Mouth Can Damage Your Oral Health and What to Do About It

Dry mouth describes that uncomfortable, bone dry feeling in your mouth. You feel parched, but your mouth still feels sticky and pasty no matter how much water you drink, your mouth still feels sticky and pasty. 

Water alone can’t alleviate dry mouth. At Westbrook Dental in Peoria, AZ, Johnny L. Smith, DMD, helps patients overcome the discomfort of dry mouth. But more than being uncomfortable, dry mouth can cause complications that only add to your misery.

Here’s what you need to know if you’re suffering from dry mouth and how we can help.

Causes of dry mouth

Dry mouth can result from a lack of hydration or a particularly dry environment. Occasional instances of dry mouth are normal and usually nothing to worry about. But if you have a mouth that consistently feels pasty or dry, you may have xerostomia, or dry mouth. 

Dry mouth is caused by the underproduction of saliva in your salivary glands. This may occur due to:

Dry mouth doesn’t always happen as you age. Instead, as you age, you’re more likely to take medications that can lead to dry mouth.

The importance of saliva

Dry mouth due to poor saliva production can have serious oral health repercussions. Your saliva neutralizes acids produced by bacteria and keeps bacteria growth in check. Saliva also ensures that the soft tissues in your mouth, including your lips, remain well hydrated and well nourished.

Saliva plays a key role in digestion, too. The fluid contains enzymes that help with digestion, and the liquid makes chewing and swallowing easier. When you don’t have enough saliva, some of these basic bodily functions are compromised when you don't have enough saliva. 

Dry mouth can lead to complications

Chronic dry mouth can lead to oral health issues like:

These conditions can seriously interfere with your day-to-day comfort and quality of life. Luckily, we can help you overcome dry mouth and avoid these complications.

Treatments for dry mouth

If you’re diagnosed with xerostomia, Dr. Smith offers several treatments to protect your oral health. These include prescription medications that encourage salivation.

We can also provide you with overnight trays that deliver fluoride to your teeth to help protect them, or we can administer fluoride treatments here in our office.

At home, you can take several steps to remedy dry mouth on your own at home. If you’re taking medications that lead to dry mouth, for example, talk to your doctor about alternatives.

Over-the-counter mouth rinses, sprays, and gels that contain xylitol also help relieve dry mouth. 

Protect dry lips with high-quality lip balm and rinse your mouth frequently with water to keep the tissues inside well hydrated. Sip water regularly throughout the day to prevent dehydration on top of clinical dry mouth. 

Avoid products that encourage dry mouth, like caffeine, cigarettes, decongestants, and antihistamines. 

We want to help you find a solution to dry mouth, so you feel more comfortable and protect your oral health. To contact Westbrook Dental Center, call 623-972-6137, or book an appointment online

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