In the grand scheme of dental disorders, dry mouth doesn’t seem like such a big deal. It might be uncomfortable, but it’s not as bad as a painfully infected tooth or a dental emergency that leads to a lost tooth, right?
Dry mouth is a pretty big deal, actually, because of the discomfort it causes you – not to mention the role it plays in other dental problems like cavities and gum disease.
Dry Mouth Discomfort
Dry mouth goes beyond an uncomfortably dry feeling in your mouth and frequent thirst. (Though those symptoms are unpleasant enough!)
Here are some other dry mouth symptoms:
Painful mouth sores, cracked lips, or split skin in the corners of your mouth that discourage you from smiling
Burning sensation in your mouth and tongue
Problems chewing or swallowing your food
Hoarseness or difficulty speaking
Dry Mouth and Other Dental Issues
Dry mouth obviously means you have a lack of saliva. This is a problem because saliva is one of your best defenses against tooth decay.
Saliva helps wash food away from your teeth and gums, as well as dead cells that build up in your mouth. It also contains elements like bicarbonate, calcium, and phosphate. All of these things help fight tooth decay.
If dry mouth leads to tooth decay, we have several treatment options. Depending on how much decay is in your teeth, we’ll treat it with:
A tooth filling, which eliminates minor decay and protects your teeth from further damage
A dental crown, which restores teeth with more extensive damage
A root canal, which is needed if decay gets into the center of your teeth and becomes infected
In addition to tooth decay and cavities, dry mouth can cause
Halitosis (chronic bad breath)
Increased risk of gum disease
We can treat gum disease too, with a procedure called scaling and root planing.
We know, though, that you probably would prefer to avoid these types of dental treatments. As with many other issues – dental and otherwise – it is easier to address the source of a problem than it is to fix the problem after it occurs.
That is why it is important to see our Rochester, MN dentists right away if you suspect you may have dry mouth.
What Causes Dry Mouth?
Hundreds of popular medications, both over-the-counter and prescription, can cause dry mouth. That is why senior citizens tend to suffer more from dry mouth than other age groups, as they often take multiple medications.
Muscle relaxants, antidepressants, antihistamines, and decongestants are among the problematic meds.
In addition to medications, here are some other common causes of dry mouth:
Medical conditions, including stroke, Parkinson’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes
Nerve damage to your head or neck
Radiation and chemotherapy treatments
Dry Mouth Treatment
For dry mouth treatment, Lakeside Dentistry uses two respected brands of oral care products to ease your discomfort:
Biotene. Oral rinses, mouth sprays, and moisturizing gel are included in this product line. They all have a pH balance similar to your saliva.
PerioSciences. This company’s products use natural ingredients and antioxidants. For dry mouth, products include oral rinses and toothpaste.
Because dry mouth increases your risk of tooth decay, you’ll want to make sure you don’t miss your regular dental exams and dental cleanings at Lakeside Dentistry. In fact, it may be a good idea for you to see our Rochester, MN dentists more often. We may also recommend additional fluoride treatments for you.
Tips for Treating Dry Mouth
In addition to seeing us for regular checkups and using oral care products that we recommend, here are some ways you can combat dry mouth:
Review medications you are taking with your physician. Switching your medications or tweaking your dosages may help alleviate your dry mouth discomfort.
Drink plenty of water. It’s especially important to consume water while eating or immediately afterward.
Reduce your caffeine consumption.
Use a room humidifier while you sleep.
Give up smoking or other tobacco products.
Use a lip balm to keep your lips moist.
Suck on sugarless candy or chew sugarless gum to spur saliva production.
We never want you to think of dry mouth – or any other dental issue, for that matter – as only a minor issue. Too often, minor issues can develop into major problems that will be more complicated and costly to solve if they are allowed to linger.
Call Lakeside Dentistry at 507-316-6444 for a consultation on dry mouth or any other dental issue. You can also use our handy online form to make an appointment.