Everybody has a dry mouth occasionally, for example, if you feel anxious or nervous or simply haven’t had enough water. However, a more persistent dry mouth is more than just unpleasant because it could affect your dental health. It definitely isn’t something you should put up with, and you should see your dentist in Whitby.
What Is Dry Mouth?
Dry mouth, a condition called xerostomia is quite a common problem and is where the body is unable to produce sufficient saliva to keep your mouth feeling fresh, clean and comfortable. Saliva is important because it is a lubricant that helps to wash away bacteria, old skin cells, loose pieces of food, and allows your mouth to maintain a neutral pH which is healthier for your teeth and gums. It also helps you to chew food properly and contains enzymes that begin the process of digestion. Unfortunately, when you don’t have enough saliva, then your risk of tooth decay and gum disease can be higher.
What Are the Signs of Dry Mouth?
Signs you might have a dry mouth include frequently feeling thirsty and having a persistently sticky, dry feeling in your mouth or throat. Your tongue may look dry, raw and red, and your lips may be cracked and sore. Without sufficient saliva, it’s difficult to speak clearly, and you might have trouble tasting your food properly. You’re more likely to have a hoarse voice or a sore throat, and persistent bad breath.
Why Do Some People Have Dry Mouth?
Dry mouth can develop as a side-effect of over-the-counter and prescription medications. Drugs that may cause side-effects include those used to treat allergies and colds, anxiety, depression and pain, hypertension, and Parkinson’s disease.
It can be a side-effect of certain diseases and infections including Sjogren’s syndrome, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, and rheumatoid arthritis. Some medical treatments can damage the saliva glands, for example, chemotherapy and radiation treatment to the head and neck area.
Your lifestyle choices make a difference, and especially if you smoke or chew tobacco. Mouth breathers are also more likely to have dry mouth.
How Your Dentist in Ajax Can Help
If you think you have dry mouth, then please talk to us during your next check-up here at Margolian Dentistry because there are various things we can do to help you. For a start, we can prescribe saliva substitutes, or you can buy them over-the-counter. Also, we can assess the risk of dry mouth to your dental health and can devise a suitable preventative dental care plan to monitor your dental health more closely. For example, you might benefit from more frequent hygiene appointments in Oshawa because removing plaque and tartar from your teeth more regularly will help reduce your risk of dental disease.
Other Things for You to Try
There are also some things you can try. For example, make sure you drink plenty of water, and some people find it helpful to suck on sugar-free candies or to chew sugar-free gum. Others prefer to suck on ice chips but please remember not to crunch on ice because it could damage your teeth. If there’s a chance that your dry mouth is caused by prescription medications, then it might be worth talking to your GP. They may be able to prescribe something slightly different to reduce the effects. Please remember you should never stop taking any prescription medications without first discussing it with your physician.