Dry Mouth – Causes and Treatments
Dry mouth, or xerostomia, is a condition where the mouth does not produce adequate saliva. This condition can compromise the health of teeth and gums. At Mettler & Griego Family Dentistry of Peoria, we often treat patients with symptoms of dry mouth. If you suffer from dry mouth, we can help you manage your condition in order to achieve better oral health.
What causes dry mouth?
Common dry mouth causes include dehydration, smoking, disease, or infection; it can also be a side effect of medical treatments and many common prescription medications. Symptoms include a dry or sticky feeling in your mouth and throat, trouble chewing or swallowing, hoarseness, chapped lips, bad breath, and frequent thirst. Severity of symptoms can vary greatly, but should always be treated in order to prevent cavities and periodontal infections.
How does dry mouth affect oral health?
Dry mouth causes increased plaque, leading to gum disease and tooth decay. Saliva plays an important role in helping to protect your teeth and gums. It washes away food debris and fights cavity-causing bacteria. Acid from plaque buildup damages teeth and causes lesions that can develop into cavities, but saliva helps to prevent acid attacks from plaque. Minerals in your saliva also help to strengthen and rebuild tooth enamel; without adequate saliva, your teeth are more susceptible to damage.
How does Mettler & Griego treat dry mouth?
Treatments for dry mouth depend on the cause; we can help you identify possible causes and prevent dental complications. We might recommend saliva stimulants like sugar-free gum or lozenges. If you are a smoker, we have resources to help you quit. Switching to decaffeinated beverages can also help alleviate dry mouth symptoms, as caffeine is very dehydrating. More frequent brushing and daily flossing will help to compensate for lack of saliva by removing plaque and food debris. Patients with dry mouth might also need to schedule more frequent professional teeth cleanings to keep plaque from building up.
If you have symptoms of dry mouth, contact Mettler & Griego Family Dentistry to schedule an appointment. When you come in for your cleanings, we will offer personalized home care recommendations to help you optimize your oral hygiene habits at home. Our gentle dental cleanings will help you maintain better oral health and prevent complications from dry mouth.