Dry mouth is often mistaken for thirst or dehydration. While you can often quench a parched oral cavity with a drink, persistent dry mouth can wreak havoc on soft oral tissues and gums. Frequent dry mouth can have a direct effect on oral health, too. Patients experiencing persistent dry mouth should discuss their symptoms with a dentist.
Effect of Dry Mouth
When the oral glands that make saliva don’t function properly, patients experience the sensation of dryness in the mouth. Persistent or untreated dry mouth can irritate the gums and soft tissues in the mouth. This irritation can lead to inflammation and make them more susceptible to infection. Saliva has a cleansing benefit in the oral cavity. Its absence can promote tooth decay and have a negative effect on oral health.
Causes of Dry Mouth
Dry Mouth can be caused by many things. It is a side effect of several common medications, both over the counter and prescription. It can also be induced by various health conditions such as anemia, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes. Radiation therapy, stress and age can be contributing factors to this condition in addition to smoking and methamphetamine use. Frequent dehydration can also cause dry mouth.
Treatment for Dry Mouth
The treatment for dry mouth will vary with the cause of the condition. Common treatments may include increasing water consumption or even making lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking. If medications are causing dry mouth it may be necessary to change the dosage or prescribe a medication which encourages saliva production. Your dentist may recommend that you use a mouthwash which doesn’t contain alcohol and stick to a meticulous oral hygiene regimen.
If you are suffering from symptoms of dry mouth, don’t ignore it. Besides being uncomfortable, it can have negative effects on your oral health. Call our office today and make an appointment to come in and discuss your symptoms with a dentist who can help.