Do you suffer from a dry mouth? This oral condition is also known as “xerostomia“. Dry mouth occurs when your salivary glands stop producing enough saliva or are impaired for some reason. Because saliva keeps your mouth moist helps flush out bacteria and food, a dry mouth can lead to an increase in infections and bad breath. You also need enough saliva to swallow and digest your food.
Common Causes of Dry Mouth
Understanding what causes dry mouth is the first step in treating the symptoms. The most frequent reasons why people suffer from xerostomia include:
- Prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines: Many everyday medications can cause dry mouth. If you read the label on your pharmacy products or listen to the disclaimer of prescription drugs when you hear commercials on TV, xerostomia or dry mouth is usually one of the first complications listed. Antihistamines and antidepressants are two common examples.
- Alcohol: Drinking alcoholic beverages or using alcohol-containing mouthwash can reduce saliva production. You may wake up with a sticky “cotton mouth” the next morning.
- Cancer treatments: Chemotherapy and radiation can damage your salivary glands, putting you at an increased risk of dry mouth problems and side effects.
- Dehydration: Do you drink a lot of caffeinated beverages or not enough water? You may be dehydrated without realizing it, which will naturally contribute to dry mouth.
- Nicotine Use: Both smoking and nicotine use can reduce the amount of saliva your oral glands produce.
What Problems Can Dry Mouth Cause?
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, be sure to visit our dental clinic in Vista:
- Dry, sticky feeling in your mouth
- Thickening and/or stringy saliva
- Painful burning on your tongue or in your mouth
- Cracked, dry lips
- Dry tongue
- Difficulty swallowing, chewing, and tasting
- Bad breath
- Mouth sores
- Frequent thirst
- Gum disease
- Accelerated tooth decay
- Thrush (yeast infection) in your mouth
- Pain when wearing a removable denture or partial
Left untreated, chronic xerostomia can place your smile at significant risk of deterioration. It’s important to manage symptoms early before conditions like decay spread into healthy teeth.
How to Cure Dry Mouth
If you’re seeking dry mouth treatment in Vista, here are some effective steps to consider:
- Practice great oral hygiene. Brush for a minimum of two minutes twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. You should also floss at least once a day. Rinse your mouth often with an alcohol-free mouthwash. Since you don’t have saliva “washing” your teeth throughout the day, you’ll want to be even more dedicated to removing bacteria along your gumlines and between teeth.
- Use dry mouth products. There are special types of moisturizing lozenges, mouthwash, and other oral care products that help lubricate your mouth to minimize discomfort. We may even have samples in our office that you can take home after your checkup.
- Drink plenty of water throughout your day. Avoid soft drinks and juice, as they can cause tooth decay. Monitor your caffeine intake, as it’s a natural diuretic and can prevent you from getting the hydration you really need. Limit alcohol as well, since it will naturally dry out your mouth.
- Supplement with fluoride appropriately. Fluoride mouthwash, toothpaste, and topical gels will help to remineralize weak areas that may have begun to demineralize because of dry mouth. Fluoride will reduce your chances of developing active decay. Especially if you’re using a prescription-strength product that you apply right before bed.
- Reassess the medication that you’re taking. Never stop taking your prescription unless directed to do so by your physician. Communicate your dry mouth complications with your doctor or PCP to weigh the pros and cons of their benefits with the side-effects. It may be possible to switch to another medication.
- Regular dental checkups. Preventative dental cleanings will remove tartar buildup, while periodic X-rays and oral exams can help us detect problems before they become more serious.
Visit Our Dental Clinic in Vista
Call Ivory Pointe Dentistry today to discuss options for dry mouth treatment in Vista.