We’ve all experienced the feeling of a dry mouth occasionally and know how uncomfortable it is.
But if you suffer from a persistent dry mouth, you are at risk of a number of complications, including dental issues.
In this post, we explore dry mouth syndrome and how it can affect your dental health.
What is dry mouth syndrome?
Dry mouth syndrome, also known as xerostomia, is when your salivary glands don’t make enough saliva to keep your mouth moist.
This can mean you feel uncomfortable and can also lead to other problems with your dental and general health and well-being.
As well as a feeling of dryness, you may experience:
- Bad breath
- Thick or stringy saliva
- Problems with chewing, swallowing or speaking
- Dry or sore throat
- Dry tongue
- Impaired sense of taste
- Difficulty wearing dentures
What causes dry mouth syndrome?
Dry mouth occurs because your salivary glands aren’t working properly. This itself can be caused by:
- Medications that have dry mouth as a side effect. Drugs to treat depression and high blood pressure and antihistamines are common culprits.
- Age. Sometimes you may simply develop dry mouth as a result of the ageing process.
- Cancer treatment. Chemotherapy drugs may temporarily cause dry mouth. If you have radiation therapy to your head or neck, your salivary glands may be temporarily or permanently damaged.
- Nerve damage. This may have the knock-on effect of dry mouth syndrome.
- Other health conditions. Various other conditions may produce a dry mouth. These include diabetes and Sjogren’s syndrome.
- Tobacco, alcohol and recreational drugs. These may all cause dry mouth symptoms.
Dry mouth and your dental health
There’s an important link between dry mouth syndrome and dental health.
Saliva is important to your dental health, as it neutralises the acids produced by bacteria in your mouth, washes away food debris and helps limit the growth of bacteria.
Other complications of dry mouth
Other than the risk to your dental health, you may also suffer from:
- Sores in your mouth
- Thrush (yeast infection) in your mouth
- Sore or cracked skin at the corners of your mouth
- Cracked lips
- Poor nutrition because of problems with chewing and swallowing your food
What’s the treatment for dry mouth syndrome?
Treatment for your dry mouth will depend on its cause. A good place to start is by going to see your doctor to find out the reasons for your dry mouth.
Because this condition has a significant impact on your dental health, you should also see your dentist for a checkup.
They can treat any problems arising from dry mouth, such as tooth decay, and advise on keeping your mouth and teeth healthy.
Your dentist will also be able to recommend products like mouthwash, gel and sugar-free gum to help with your symptoms.
Got problems with dry mouth?
No one should suffer in silence with dry mouth.
If you’re affected, come and see us at Opal Dental. We can check the health of your teeth and give help and advice to alleviate the symptoms.
Reach out to our friendly team for a checkup with the dentists who care!