effects of dry mouth

Effects of Dry Mouth on Dental Health

effects of dry mouthWe know that having a dry mouth can be a very uncomfortable feeling.  But did you know that having a dry mouth can also cause major problems for your dental health?   As your dental hygienist I want to do all I can to help you prevent dental problems.  In this blog I’m going to give you all the information you need to help manage dry mouth.  I will discuss the effects, causes and treatment options.

Dry mouth is dangerous to your oral health because it increases the chance of tooth decay and gum disease.  Your saliva is so important because it not only starts the process of digestion,  it washes bacteria and food from your teeth, and neutralizes harmful acids.  Without saliva production, plaque and bacteria build up in your mouth and that’s what causes tooth decay, gum disease and even bad breath.

Your mouth is considered the gateway to your body.  So that’s why we update your medical history when you come in for your routine care exam. Sometimes people don’t realize that medical conditions relate directly to dental concerns – but they really do!  Dry mouth is one of the ways we see this.  Certain medications, medical conditions and habits can cause dry mouth. Medications that cause dry mouth include:  blood pressure medications, pain pills, decongestants, medications for overactive bladder, antidepressants, diuretics, muscle relaxers, and medications for anxiety.  Medical conditions such as autoimmune disorders, Sjogren’s Syndrome, Parkinson’s disease , and radiation treatment for head and neck cancers also contribute to dry mouth.  Smoking is also a contributing factor.  We like to stay on top of your dental health by discussing your medical health and letting you know how they correlate.  The information you give helps us determine your best possible dental care.

There are many treatment options we can discuss that can help control dry mouth.  Some things that we may recommend are as follows:  sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva flow, limiting caffeine, using non alcohol containing mouthwash, sip water regularly, stop tobacco use, prescription fluoride toothpaste, in office fluoride varnish applications. We can suggest over-the-counter saliva substitutes such as Biotene oral rinse, moisturizing gels, and Xylimelts.  Adding moisture to the air at night by using a humidifier.  We are committed to devising a treatment plan specifically for you and are happy to give you samples of products we have in our office too.

As always we recommend visiting our office at least twice yearly to detect and treat tooth decay or other dental problems.

Sandy – your Dental Hygiene Queen

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