Saliva plays an important role in maintaining good oral health. It washes away food particles, cleans teeth, and neutralizes harmful acids. Without saliva, the risk of tooth decay and gum disease increases. When your mouth doesn’t produce enough saliva, you suffer from xerostomia or dry mouth.
To determine the cause of dry mouth, your dentist will review your health, habits and medication list. Certain prescription and nonprescription medications can dry out your mouth. Some mouth-drying medications are: anti-depressants, antihistamines, decongestants, diet pills, bronchodilators, and muscle relaxers.
Infections, different diseases, and medical treatments can also lead to dry mouth. People who suffer from diabetes, anemia, HIV, hypertension, and rheumatoid arthritis may exhibit signs of dry mouth, as well. Chemotherapy and radiation have also been known to damage salivary glands and cause dry mouth.
Symptoms of dry mouth include:
- Frequent thirst
- A sticky, dry feeling in the mouth
- Mouth sores
- Bad breath
- Difficulty speaking, chewing, tasting, or swallowing
To combat dry mouth drink plenty of water, suck on sugar-free candy, chew sugar-free gum, breath through your nose, use a vaporizer, and visit your dentist regularly. Be sure to tell your dentist which medications you take, as well.
If you show signs of dry mouth or need to schedule a six-month dental visit, contact me, Dr. James Stewart, a Livonia dentist, at (734)425-4400. Don’t let a dry mouth destroy healthy teeth and gums! I proudly care for residents of Livonia, Novi, Farmington Hills, and surrounding areas.