Xerostomia: The Dangers of Dry Mouth

Are you a person that keeps a water bottle with you at all times because your mouth gets so dry?  Do your lips smack or stick together when you talk?  Does your mouth even burn a little sometimes? If you answered yes to some or all of these questions, you are probably experiencing a condition known as xerostomia or dry mouth.  Dry mouth results from an inadequate flow of saliva. It is not a disease, but a symptom/condition often associated with aging, a medical disorder, or a side effect of many medications, such as antihistamines, decongestants, pain killers, diuretics and many others.

Saliva is the mouth’s primary defense against tooth decay and maintains the health of the soft and hard tissues in the mouth. Saliva washes away food and other debris, neutralizes acids produced by bacteria in the mouth and provides disease-fighting substances throughout the mouth, offering first-line protection against microbial invasion or overgrowth that might lead to disease.  As we age and often gather more fillings and crowns in our mouth or possibly have some recession and bone loss around our teeth that will expose root surfaces and more areas of weakness to the damaging effects of a dry mouth.

Some of the common problems associated with dry mouth include a constant sore throat, burning sensation, trouble speaking, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness or dry eyes and nasal passages. In some cases, dry mouth can be an indicator of a more serious autoimmune disease that requires systemic treatment by your physician.

Without saliva, extensive tooth decay often occurs. We take dry mouth very seriously because it will have a significant impact on the prognosis of your teeth and oral health.  We recommend various products, and trays to help prevent decay and discomfort.  Xylitol candies, mints, and sprays are used to moisten the mouth and stimulate saliva flow.  We even have artificial saliva that helps replace the healthy components your mouth is missing.  If you are suffering from dry mouth, and want more answers, give us a call, we look forward to partnering with you to ensure lasting oral wellness.

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