Facts and Tips on Dry Mouth
We’ve all experienced dry mouth, whether as the result of sleeping with our mouths open, dehydration, or taking certain medications. For most of us, experiencing a dry mouth is just a once in a while concern. However, for some, a dry mouth is a chronic concern that impacts their day-to-day routine.
Current research states that as many as a quarter of adults are suffering from dry mouth, which makes it one of the most frequently diagnosed oral health concerns.
Shreveport’s dentist, Dr. Ben Kacos, offers facts and tips on dry mouth, including some tips to help resolve this uncomfortable condition.
Facts You Need to Know About Dry Mouth
Dry mouth is an oral health condition that affects the saliva in your mouth. Our mouths need saliva for several important reasons, not least of which is keeping the interior of the mouth moist and comfortable. Saliva helps break down our food as we chew it and then helps us swallow it safely.
Here are some interesting facts about saliva and its purpose.
- Saliva helps keep our mouths cleaner by neutralizing the plaque acids that can lead to tooth decay.
- A decrease in saliva can make it harder for you to enjoy certain foods and can also impact the way some of your food tastes.
- A dry mouth makes it more likely that you have bad breath.
- Your speech can be affected by dry mouth.
- A dry mouth is most often worsened during the night, as the mouth naturally produces less saliva than it does during the daytime.
- A dry mouth can result in a high risk of developing tooth decay and also gum disease, which could ultimately lead to needing a tooth extraction.
- Women are at a higher risk of suffering from a dry mouth compared to men.
Potential Causes of Dry Mouth
There are several causes of dry mouth. To offer the best solution for relief, Dr. Kacos will need to know what is behind your dry mouth.
- Certain medications, including those to treat anxiety, depression, blood pressure, and heart conditions, can lead to dry mouth. Your prescribing physician or your pharmacist should be able to help you to determine whether medications you are taking could be responsible for your dry mouth.
- Some medical conditions can be to blame for dry mouth. These include lupus and diabetes. If you have a diagnosed medical condition, you should speak to your doctor about what steps you can take to reduce your side effects of the illness.
There are no cures for dry mouth itself. The best treatment solution is to address the underlying conditions and concerns that might be responsible for your having developed the condition.
Tips on Dry Mouth
Perhaps the most important step you can take is to ensure that you keep up with your regular checkups and appointments with Dr. Kacos. Dry mouth puts you at a higher risk for tooth decay and gum disease, and they can accelerate faster than you’d otherwise experience. Visiting regularly so that Dr. Kacos can check on the health of your teeth and gums will help keep you from severe damage and disease that would otherwise send you running to the nearest emergency dentist Shreveport has to offer. Damage to teeth can also result in a root canal, which Shreveport patients may dread. The tooth may also need to be extracted, with dental implants needing to be considered to replace the lost tooth.
Other steps that you can take to manage your dry mouth include the following.
- Use a fluoride toothpaste that is free from sodium lauryl sulfate, as this ingredient can irritate the dry mouth.
- Use gels, sprays, and mouthwashes that can help keep your mouth comfortable and moist.
- Sugar-free gum can help produce more saliva, so be sure to keep it on hand.
- Sugar-free candy can also help to keep your mouth from drying out. Be sure only to use sugar-free products, as your dry mouth does increase your risks of tooth decay.
Those who are afraid of the dentist may find that options for sedation dentistry that Dr. Kacos can offer will help alleviate some of the fear and discomfort. If you are looking for help with treating your dry mouth or perhaps need to address damage resulting from dry mouth, be sure to schedule your appointment with Shreveport’s Dentist.