Everyone has experienced dry mouth at one moment or another. While drinking water can alleviate some bouts of dry mouth, constant or persistent dry mouth may be harder to treat and can have serious consequences. Here, Northfield Dental Group discusses possible causes and consequences of dry mouth, as well as what to do about it.
Consequences of Dry Mouth
Saliva has many purposes, including washing away food debris and bacteria. Lack of saliva increases the risk of decay and gum disease.
Dry mouth is a result of a decrease in saliva production. Severe dry mouth is often apparent on the tongue, as it becomes rough, dry and sensitive. The condition can also cause the soft tissues in the mouth to become inflamed, putting them at risk of infection. In addition to affecting your oral health, dry mouth can also impair your ability to enjoy your food. Without saliva, it becomes more difficult to chew, swallow and even taste your food.
What Causes Dry Mouth?
Dry mouth can be caused by a number of factors including:
- Certain medications
- Certain cancer therapies including radiation therapy
- The natural aging process
- Certain medical conditions (e.g., diabetes)
- Alcoholic or caffeinated beverages
- Tobacco use
- Breathing through the mouth
What To Do If You Have Constant Dry Mouth
Constant or persistent dry mouth should be addressed promptly. If you are experiencing constant dry mouth, schedule an appointment with your dentist. Because constant dry mouth can lead to serious dental issues, it is best to err on the side of caution and get your symptoms checked by a professional. Early detection and treatment can help avoid serious potential damage to your oral and overall health.
Depending on the root of the problem, your dentist may recommend making dietary changes (e.g., drinking more water, avoiding certain foods), or prescribing oral medications that induce saliva production. Or, we may recommend adjusting the dosage of the medication that is causing dry mouth. In addition, we may perform an in-office fluoride treatment to protect your teeth from further damage from dry mouth.
If you are experiencing constant dry mouth, schedule an appointment with Northfield Dental Group. Please call our West Orange office at (973) 736-0111 today.