Poway and Rancho Bernardo, CA
Xerostomia or dry mouth affects many people for different reasons. According to the Academy of Oral Medicine, approximately 65% of the population battles dry mouth. Many patients avoid mentioning it to their dentist because they have lived with it for so long, they figure it is something they will just have to deal with. But our family dentist in Poway, Dr. Nicol Cook, wants you to know there are ways that we can help. With the devastating oral effects of untreated dry mouth, you can’t afford to ignore it! Today on our newest blog, find out why having chronic dry mouth is a big deal and how to deal with it.
What is xerostomia?
Dry mouth occurs when the salivary glands do not produce enough saliva to moisten the inside of the mouth. It can make you feel like you have cotton in your mouth and leave you wanting to sip on a drink throughout the day. Saliva is necessary to prevent fungus and bacterial overgrowth in the mouth. It also rinses the mouth of small food particles that would otherwise get stuck between your teeth. Saliva helps maintain a proper pH balance and prevents demineralization of dental enamel from reducing the likelihood of cavities developing. But having a dry mouth can make eating certain foods unpleasant or uncomfortable. Dry mouth creates the perfect environment to bread harmful oral bacteria responsible for tooth decay and gum disease. That means you are more likely to have poor oral health if you suffer from chronic dry mouth.
What causes dry mouth?
Certain medications produce undesirable side effects, such as dry mouth. As many as 400 medications result in xerostomia, as do certain medical conditions like arthritis, thyroid disease, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and others. Those undergoing radiation or cancer treatments are more likely to develop chronic dry mouth. Additionally, smoking and aging can lead to an underproduction of saliva.
Do I have chronic dry mouth?
Chronic dry mouth may also present other symptoms such as dry, cracked, or chapped lips that never seem to heal, fissured tongue, frequently occurring mouth sores, bad breath, gum disease, and excessive tooth decay. You might have dry mouth if you also experience a burning or tingling sensation in your mouth that doesn’t go away. Even if you take good care of your teeth and visit the dentist often, it may not be enough to protect your oral health if you’re leaving your chronic dry mouth untreated.
What can I do about chronic dry mouth?
The good news is that there are ways to combat this common problem. It’s important to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water, but steer clear of sugary beverages. Also, over-the-counter products like mouthwashes, lozenges, mints, and gum are designed to stimulate saliva flow. Popular products are Biotene and TheraBreath, which are available online and at most major retailers. If you aren’t sure which product is right for you, schedule a consultation with Dr. Cook, a family dentist near you in Poway.
Family Dentist in Poway and Rancho Bernardo
It’s essential to maintain good oral health, although that can be challenging if you’re battling chronic dry mouth. You may also require more frequent dental visits for the dentist to keep a close eye on any possible changes in your oral health. If you experience dry mouth or would like to learn more about treating this condition, call Smiles by Dr. Cook at (858) 673-0141 or contact us today.