Most people don’t notice the natural moist state of their mouth until something happens to change it. Our bodies naturally produce saliva in sufficient amounts to keep oral tissues comfortable, and to rinse food particles from teeth throughout the day. When something upsets the balance, xerostomia (dry mouth) can be the uncomfortable result. Xerostomia can be more than just uncomfortable: it can lead to bad breath and unhealthy dental situations. We use preventive checkups and cleanings to look for signs of dry mouth, and discuss any dry mouth dental issues with you.
What Causes Dry Mouth?
Dry mouth comes about for a variety of reasons. One of the major causes is that dry mouth can be a side effect of over the counter and prescription medications. Medication for asthma, depression, acne and high blood pressure are just a few examples. Some anti-anxiety medications may cause a decrease in saliva production. Muscle relaxants and anti-nausea medications can also cause xerostomia.
Are There Other Causes of Dry Mouth?
Dry mouth can be a side affect of certain treatments, for example chemotherapy and radiation treatment.
The natural perception of thirst tends to decrease as we age, and dry mouth can be a sign of overall dehydration
Some diseases are associated with decreased saliva production. Two examples are Sjögrens syndrome and cystic fibrosis.
Using tobacco products can affect saliva production
Nasal obstructions that cause mouth breathing or sleeping with an open mouth will cause a dry mouth
Steps to Combat Dry Mouth
If you know the underlying cause, make changes where you can. This may mean talking with your doctor about changing medications or sipping on water even when you are not particularly thirsty. Brushing in a beneficial way with fluoride toothpaste, and flossing daily, are especially important to help keep teeth and gums healthy in a dry mouth environment. If you have further dry mouth questions, please call our office, or ask at any visit!