Many people take saliva for granted or even think of it as a rather unpleasant substance, but it plays a critical role in your oral health, helping to clear away the oral bacteria that cause issues like tooth decay and gum disease. Unfortunately, some patients may not produce enough saliva and develop dry mouth as a result. This condition should not be ignored or brushed off as a minor annoyance. It can have serious consequences for your oral health. More importantly, your dentist can provide effective treatments to eliminate dry mouth.
Dry mouth can be caused by a number of factors, and your dentist must first diagnose the specific issue before recommending treatment. Here is a list of some of the possible causes of your dry mouth:
• Medical conditions, such as Sjorgen’s syndrome, HIV/AIDS, diabetes and anemia, among others.
• Side effects of a variety of medications, including those used to treat issues like asthma, allergies, diarrhea, depression and high blood pressure, in addition to a host of other problems.
• Many chemotherapy drugs and radiation, especially for head and neck cancers
• Tobacco use
Once the specific problem at the root of your dry mouth has been identified, your dentist can make recommendations on how to eliminate the problem. Many patients find over-the-counter saliva replacements, mouthwashes and other saliva stimulants to be very effective at reducing dry mouth. You may also be advised to explore medication changes with your doctor to see if that helps. Drinking lots of water and chewing on sugar-free gum also may be helpful.
Other symptoms can be associated with dry mouth, so if you notice any of these, be sure to mention them to your dental provider, as well. Frequent thirst, chapped or cracked lips, a persistently dry throat or a burning, tingling sensation in the mouth all may be signs of dry mouth.
Dry mouth can be a significant concern, so if you have symptoms of this problem, talk to one of our knowledgeable staff members to learn about the available treatments.