Most of us experience mouth dryness at some point in our life. This uncomfortable feeling may indicate that you’re simply nervous or dehydrated, but persistent dry mouth can signal a more serious condition. We want to help our patients understand how to recognize dry mouth (or xerostomia) and its causes, and know how to combat it so they can avoid unnecessary dental discomfort.
What Is Dry Mouth?
Dry mouth often occurs when your salivary glands are not working properly. In addition to that uncomfortable, cotton-mouth feeling, the lack of saliva can negatively affect your oral health. Saliva neutralizes acids produced by bacteria in your mouth and washes away food particles, which helps prevent tooth decay. So when you don’t have enough saliva to protect your mouth, you have a higher risk of developing dental decay.
Why Do I Have Dry Mouth?
While it is perfectly normal to occasionally experience mouth dryness, if you notice that it has become a chronic issue, let Dr. DeSaix know during your next visit. Your dry mouth might be caused by dehydration, alcohol consumption, a vitamin deficiency, or the use of tobacco or certain medications, but it can also signal a more serious health condition such as poorly controlled diabetes, Sjögren’s syndrome, nerve damage, HIV/AIDS, or depression.
How Can I Treat Dry Mouth?
One of the first steps to alleviate dry mouth is to stay hydrated. We generally recommend that our patients drink a half-gallon of water each day, or eight 8-ounce glasses. If you know you’re well hydrated, try chewing some sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva production. Additionally, limit your consumption of caffeine and alcohol, and avoid smoking and using mouthwashes that contain alcohol. In more severe cases, Dr. DeSaix may recommend a mouth spray that acts as a substitute for natural saliva.
We Can Help Stop Your Mouth Dryness!
If left untreated, chronic dry mouth can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, mouth sores, yeast infections, and other painful and serious dental conditions. The earlier Dr. DeSaix is able to diagnose you, the sooner we can get your oral health back on track. If you are struggling with persistent mouth dryness, contact us as soon as possible to schedule your appointment.