At some point, everyone experiences a dry mouth. Whether it is from not drinking enough water while exercising or having a stuffy nose that makes you breathe through your mouth, a dry mouth can be uncomfortable. However, for millions of Americans, dry mouth is a chronic condition that can pose significant issues to their oral health. Having a dry mouth literally feels as though all moisture has been sucked out of your tongue, cheeks, roof of your mouth, floor of your mouth, and gum tissues. If you have any of these feelings unexpectedly or for more than a few days, it is time to bring your dry mouth to your dentist’s attention.
Dry mouth is a condition in which the salivary glands inside the mouth do not produce enough saliva to keep your mouth moist. An insufficient amount of saliva can cause a variety of issues that can be detrimental to your oral health. Saliva is rarely thought of, yet it plays a huge role in your oral health. Saliva helps to neutralize acids that are produced by the bacteria inside your mouth every single day. Saliva production also helps to wash away the bacteria before they adhere to your teeth and begin creating cavity causing plaque. A common side effect of dry mouth is chronic bad breath. When there is not sufficient saliva to rinse the mouth on a consistent basis, bacteria will dry up and will literally rot inside your mouth.
There are common causes of dry mouth:
- Medications used to “dry up” a runny nose or nasal drainage can also dry up your saliva. If you experience an on-set of dry mouth after taking a new medication, speak with your doctor about changing your mediation.
- Dry mouth is a common occurrence among those with diabetes.
- Depression and anxiety are often linked to dry mouth.
- The natural aging process can often be attributed to dry mouth; often due to hormone changes or the fact that older people tend to take more medications.
- Tobacco use, alcohol consumption, excessive caffeine intake, and methamphetamines increase dry mouth symptoms.
Dr. Wayne G. Suway has been practicing dentistry for more than 35 years. If you are experiencing dry mouth symptoms, please contact our dental practice today. Chronic dry mouth puts your oral health at risk, and we want to help you achieve and maintain a healthy mouth. We look forward to serving you.