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How dry mouth affects oral health

Posted on 9/11/2023 by Florida Smiles Dental
How dry mouth affects oral healthA dry mouth can also be termed as xerostomia. A dry mouth comes about when the salivary glands fail to produce enough saliva.

The role of saliva in the mouth

Saliva is largely responsible for counterbalancing acidic environments. Digestion of foods begins in the mouth as we chew. As such, most of the sugar produced after the breakdown of food is left in the oral cavity. If the sugar is not washed away, it converts to acid that corrodes the enamel. Eventually, the teeth are weakened and susceptible to decay and bacterial infection. Saliva ensures the mouth remains moist to effectively perform all oral functions. A lack of sufficient flow of saliva makes it hard not just to chew but swallow.

Notable symptoms of a dry mouth

A general sticky or dry feeling in the mouth could be a pointer to the onset of a dry mouth. Sometimes, dry mouth presents difficulty in chewing and swallowing. You may also begin to have a change of taste in food. If saliva decreases, it may be difficult to put on your dentures. Besides dryness in the mouth, you may also experience hoarseness in the throat.

Possible causes of xerostomia

Most medications result in a dry mouth. Treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation also increase the chances of a dry mouth. Smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol is another leading cause of xerostomia.

Oral complication resulting from a dry mouth

A dry mouth increases tartar accumulation that later translates to cavities. Also, when the build-up becomes too much, you could experience gum inflammation and pain in the gums. A dry mouth leads to cracked and sore lips both on the inside and the outside. Due to the difficulty in chewing and swallowing, you may suffer poor nutrition in the process. Nutrition plays a big role in the health of the teeth and gums.

Drinking plenty of water is the first step in managing a dry mouth. Chewing sugarless-free gum could also help stimulate the saliva-producing hormones. Above all, seeking medical intervention is of great importance. Our doctors have successfully helped patients with dry mouth in the past. Call us today!

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