Dry mouth, also called xerostomia, is defined by a lack of saliva in the mouth. Because saliva performs antimicrobial functions, dry mouth can cause serious oral health problems over time. Other issues resulting from dry mouth include poor digestion and problems speaking. Aging, disease, and medications are common causes of this condition.
Dry mouth can cause a variety of oral health problems if left untreated. For example, tooth decay is more likely to result from consumption of sugary, starchy, and sour foods when saliva is not present to wash the teeth and control bacterial growth. When tooth damage has already occurred, remineralization is likely to be reduced without saliva, which is rich in minerals that nourish the enamel. Gum disease may also result without enough saliva in the mouth. Finally, dry mouth can cause bad breath.
If you suffer from dry mouth, the first step towards relief is determining the cause behind your symptoms. If medications are causing dry mouth, discussing the problem with your doctor may yield a switch to an alternative treatment. Regular consumption of water can help regardless of the cause. Finally, relief may be found in the use of artificial saliva or stimulation of salivary flow with sugar-free candy.
Because tooth decay progresses more rapidly when the mouth is dry, you should take extra care to brush and floss regularly and visit our dentist regularly for check-ups. You can schedule a consultation with our dentist in Houston to learn more about dry mouth and its effects on oral health.
Copyright 2016. Antoine Dental Center. All Rights Reserved.