Chronic Dry Mouth: The Beginning of Bigger Problems

The clinical name for chronic dry mouth is xerostomia. Dry mouth is a symptom, not a disorder, and it will make your mouth will feel cottony or pasty. The problem is, you aren’t producing enough saliva. Commonly, medications cause dry mouth, but other causes include radiation treatment, salivary gland disease, diabetes, Sjogren’s syndrome, and even emotional stress. Hormone fluctuations, as occur with pregnancy or menopause, can also contribute to dry mouth.

For some people, dry mouth is simply uncomfortable. However, it can lead to other oral health problems. Saliva is an interesting and necessary bodily fluid. It controls bacteria levels, neutralizes acids, and generally cleans the mouth. When inadequate saliva is produced, you may experience increased tooth decay, oral yeast infection, a burning sensation, bad breath, and you’re more prone to developing gum disease. If you wear dentures, they may feel uncomfortable without sufficient saliva to help them adhere to your gums.

You can combat xerostomia by:

  • Increasing hydration (drinking water)
  • Using artificial saliva (from a pharmacy)
  • Reducing caffeine, alcohol, and carbonation in your diet
  • Chewing sugar-free gum
  • Using mouthwash without alcohol

Also, be sure to brush twice a day and floss once. Because bacteria increase when saliva is decreased, your daily oral hygiene routine must be diligent and effective to keep gum disease and tooth decay at bay. When you visit Dr. Stewart, tell him that your mouth feels dry. He’ll want to know which medications you take and he may ask other questions to determine the cause of your xerostomia.

To schedule your appointment with Dr. Stewart, call 734-425-4400 today. With an office in Livonia, James R. Stewart, Jr., DDS, serves families in Farmington Hills, Farmington, Plymouth, Northville, Novi, Dearborn Heights, Dearborn, Garden City, Westland, Redford, and surrounding areas.