Dry mouth and dental decay are a damaging team. Dry mouth enables decay, which can cause cavities and, sometimes, tooth loss.
Why is dry mouth such an enabler? Saliva helps clean away the bacteria on your teeth that ultimately causes dental decay. So if your mouth doesn’t produce the amount of saliva it should, you’ve got an environment that is friendly to bacteria.
Dry mouth is uncomfortable for you, too. It can leave your mouth raw and make it difficult for you to chew and swallow. Dry mouth even has a scary-sounding scientific name, xerostomia.
Fortunately, we have products and treatments that can give you dry mouth relief. Call Mid-Michigan Dental Excellence at 989-796-4848 to visit our Alma, MI dentist office and learn how we can help! You can also use our convenient online form to schedule your appointment.
Dry Mouth Causes
What causes dry mouth in the first place? Here are some common causes:
- Medications. Many over-the-counter medications can cause dry mouth. That’s why senior citizens are more prone to dry mouth than other age groups; they tend to take more medications. Antihistamines, decongestants, muscle relaxants, and antidepressants are among the meds that can cause problems.
- Diseases. Dry mouth results from numerous medical conditions, including stroke, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Cancer treatment. Dry mouth is a side effect of radiation and chemotherapy treatments.
- Nerve damage. Nerve damage to your head or neck can cause dry mouth.
- Tobacco use. Dry mouth is yet another negative result of smoking.
- Dehydration. If you don’t consume enough water, dry mouth can result.
Dry Mouth Symptoms
How do you know when dry mouth is a problem? You should consult us if:
- Your mouth almost always feels sticky and dry
- You often have sores in your mouth, cracked lips, or split skin in the corners of your mouth
- Your experience a burning sensation in your mouth and tongue
- You have problems chewing or swallowing
- You have bad breath that won’t go away
- You are frequently thirsty
What Can We Do for Dry Mouth?
There are a number of products that can offer dry mouth relief. They come in many different forms, so we can suggest one that you’ll find simple and pleasant to use. They include:
- Mouth rinses
One of the most important things you can do for dry mouth relief is maintain your regular schedule of dental cleanings and exams at Mid-Michigan Dental Excellence. In fact, because dry mouth leads to more decay, we may suggest you make more frequent visits to our Alma, MI dentist office.
We provide fluoride treatments and nutritional counseling, both of which can help you fight decay. If dry mouth is eroding the enamel on your teeth, we can even create custom fluoride trays for you. Similar to the trays you wear for teeth whitening treatments, the trays are filled with fluoride gel instead of bleaching gel. You can use them at home under Dr. Thomas J. McDonald’s direction.
Dry Mouth and Gum Disease
In addition to cavities, bacteria in your mouth can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis) and full-blown gum disease (periodontitis). If periodontitis isn’t treated, it causes bone loss and the loss of your teeth. For gum disease treatment, we do a dental deep cleaning called scaling and root planing. After the cleaning, we place an antibiotic treatment under your gumline to help keep bacteria away.
We may also provide a prescription-strength toothpaste and mouth rinse. Both contain more fluoride than is found in over-the-counter products you purchase at the drugstore. After gum disease treatment, we even give you an electric toothbrush with multiple heads that will help you keep your teeth clean and bacteria-free.
More Tips for Dry Mouth Treatment
There are also many simple things you can do at home to fight dry mouth. Among them:
- Don’t smoke or use chewing tobacco
- Use a room humidifier at night
- Cut down on caffeine, because caffeine can dry out your mouth
- Try not to breathe your mouth; breathe through your nose instead
- Make sure you consume enough water, especially while eating
- Use lip balm
- If your medication is causing dry mouth, ask your doctor if you can try a different med
For advice on dry mouth relief or other general dentistry issues, call Mid-Michigan Dental Excellence at .