Can Chronic Dry Mouth Lead to Dental Issues?

Have you ever woken up in the morning with a dry sensation in your mouth? This is what chronic dry mouth feels like. But besides this odd feeling in your mouth can chronic dry mouth lead to dental issues?

man drinking from a water bottle

What Is Dry Mouth?

Chronic dry mouth is a condition where your salivary glands in your mouth don’t produce enough saliva. This is a problem because saliva is vital to your dental health. By neutralizing the acids produced by bacteria, washing away food particles, and reducing bacteria growth in the mouth, saliva assists in preventing tooth decay and aids in digestion.

What Are the Symptoms of Dry Mouth?

If you have chronic dry mouth and therefore aren’t producing enough saliva, you may be suffering from a number of symptoms. The most common symptoms include bad breath, dry or grooved tongue, saliva that’s stringy and thick, dry or sore throat, difficulty speaking, swallowing, and chewing, a feeling of dryness or stickiness in your mouth, a changed sense of taste, and problems wearing dentures.

What Are the Causes of Dry Mouth?

Chronic dry mouth can be caused by a number of things. One of the big causes of dry mouth is medication. There are hundreds of medications–both over the counter and prescription–that cause dry mouth as a side effect. The medications that most often cause dry mouth include those that treat high blood pressure, anxiety, and depression, and antihistamines, muscle relaxants, decongestants, and pain medications. Chemotherapy drugs can also change your saliva or damage your salivary glands temporarily or permanently depending on radiation dose and where a patient receives radiation. Nerve damage, whether sustained from an injury or surgery, could also cause dry mouth. Drug and alcohol use is another cause of dry mouth. Many people also experience dry mouth as they get older. Health conditions that also have dry mouth as a side effect include autoimmune diseases, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and more.

Can Chronic Dry Mouth Lead to Dental Issues?

If chronic dry mouth is not treated, it can lead to serious dental issues including tooth decay, gum disease, increased plaque, mouth sores, and a mouth infection called thrush which is a yeast infection in your mouth.

What Are the Treatments for Dry Mouth?

To treat chronic dry mouth, you may need to switch medications or take prescription mouth rinses to lubricate your mouth. In more severe cases you might need prescription medication that will stimulate saliva. For at home remedies, try sipping water throughout the day to moisten your mouth, chew sugar free gum to stimulate saliva flow, breathe through your nose instead of your mouth, use a humidifier to add moisture to the air at night, and moisturize your lips. You should also stay away from coffee and alcohol, tobacco, over the counter antihistamines and decongestants, and sugary and acidic foods.

If you think you suffer from dry mouth, contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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Helotes Family Dentistry

Helotes Family Dentistry