Dry mouth, also called xerostomia, occurs due to a condition in which the salivary glands in your mouth don’t make enough saliva to keep your mouth wet. Dry mouth is often due to the side effect of certain medications or aging issues or as a result of radiation therapy for cancer. Less often, dry mouth may be caused by a condition that directly affects the salivary gland. It’s not a disease, but a symptom of a medical disorder or a side effect of certain medications.
Benefits of Saliva:
Saliva is the mouth’s primary defense against tooth decay and maintains the health of the soft and hard tissues in the mouth. Saliva washes away food and other debris, neutralizes acids produced by bacteria in the mouth, and provides disease-fighting substances throughout the mouth, offering first-line protection against microbial invasion or overgrowth that might lead to disease. Saliva also aids in chewing, swallowing and enhances your ability to taste.
Problems that can occur from Dry Mouth:
Some of the common problems associated with dry mouth include
- Dryness or a feeling of stickiness in your mouth
- Saliva that seems thick and stringy
- Bad breath
- Difficulty chewing, speaking and swallowing
- Dry or sore throat and hoarseness
- Dry or grooved tongue
- A changed sense of taste
- Problems wearing dentures
You may even notice your lipstick sticking to your teeth!
Xerostomia can be an indicator towards larger systemic conditions such as Sjogren’s syndrome.
Dry mouth also plays a huge role in an increase of cavities and causes you to be more susceptible to advanced gum disease known as periodontal disease. Your spit and having enough of it plays an important role in clearing away food particles that contribute to tooth decay. Your dentist can recommend various methods to restore moisture. Sugar-free candy or gum stimulates saliva flow, and moisture can be replaced by using artificial saliva and oral rinses. For safe, effective relief of dry mouth symptoms, look for a product with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at Capozzi Dental.