There aren’t many feelings worse than a dry mouth – a condition that feels as though you’ve been walking in a desert for weeks – and makes it feel as though your tongue is a piece of old leather and your cheeks will crack with the slightest movement.
Everyone experiences dry mouth from time-to-time, but for some patients the condition is ongoing, causing oral tissues to be constantly dehydrated. The cause of dry mouth (Xerostomia) can be linked to several factors such as, some prescription medications, certain illnesses, the chronic habit of mouth-breathing, diet and aging. Saliva is the mouth’s natural hydrator and cleanser as this fluid is 98% water and contains other substances, including antibacterial compounds and enzymes. With a reduction in saliva production the teeth lose a natural defense against decay and tissue inflammation.
As annoying as dry mouth is, there are ways to reduce the discomfort and handle the ongoing symptoms. If a lack of saliva is the problem, and saliva is 98% water, then the number one step is to stay hydrated by including water as your primary drink throughout the day. Avoiding excessive amounts of caffeine will help prevent dehydration and the mouth feeling even drier. Some reports suggest that sucking on sugar-free candy that contains xylitol may help the mouth feel more comfortable. Exercise caution when eating foods with xylitol as it can induce stomach upsets in some patients. Family Dentists at Centennial Smiles Dental in Downtown Calgary recommend seeking out dental products specifically formulated to ease dry mouth as these products contain ingredients like glycerin that not only help the oral tissues feel better, but provide protection.
Patients who suffer from dry mouth are at greater risk for developing tooth decay. Because dryness changes the ph. balance of the mouth, a patient may also notice greater plaque buildup on teeth and an increase in gum inflammation. Seeing your Calgary Dentist for regular exams and cleanings will enable your dental team to monitor for dental decay and maintain healthy tooth and gum conditions with deep cleanings and fluoride treatments.