SALIVA IS ESSENTIAL not only for our oral health but for our overall comfort. We all experience a dry mouth every once in a while and know how bothersome it can be. But what does it mean? And what should we do if it persists?
Saliva Has An Important Role In Our Oral Health
Our bodies are constantly producing saliva to provide our mouths with moisture–we generate two to four pints of saliva a day! Saliva aids in digestion and allows us to taste and process food. It also protects our mouths by washing away food debris and strengthening our teeth against cavities!
Dry Mouth Can Be Caused By A Number Of Things
Dry mouth occurs when salivary glands are not working properly resulting in an inadequate flow of saliva. It can leave us feeling thirsty and hoarse and our mouths sticky and uncomfortable. We may have problems speaking or trouble tasting and swallowing. It also causes bad breath. Needless to say, not having enough saliva is no fun!
Our mouths may get dry occasionally due to nervousness or stress. More serious and persistent cases of dry mouth, however, are the result of a number of other things, such as:
- Certain medications like antihistamines, painkillers, decongestants, diuretics, among others.
- Lifestyle choices such as smoking or chewing tobacco.
- Illnesses including Sjögren’s syndrome, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes, to name a few.
- Medical treatments that can damage salivary glands, such as radiation and chemotherapy.
- Dehydration and conditions that cause dehydration such as fever, excessive sweating, diarrhea, vomiting, blood loss and burns.
- Medications that are taken for allergies, blood pressure, ADD, and too many more to list. This is the #1 cause of dry mouth in Chattanooga, TN.
Our loved ones may have dry mouth and for those, without dry mouth it can be hard to comprehend how hard living with a dry mouth can be. If you don’t have a dry mouth it can be hard to understand how annoying your cheeks sticking to your teeth can be. Or your tongue sticking to the roof of your mouth while you try to talk. It is a serious problem. Not only is it annoying but it can lead to periodontal disease and tooth decay. This is the biggest side effect of having a dry mouth.
Talk To Us About Dry Mouth
More than just discomfort, having a dry mouth raises your risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and infection and should therefore be taken care of as soon as possible. Depending on the cause of your dry mouth, we can help determine the best course of treatment. In the meantime, try some at-home remedies such as chewing on sugarless gum or sucking on sugar-free candy. And as always, drink plenty of water!
If you have a dry mouth come in and talk with Dr. Mark McOmie here at McOmie Family Dentistry there can be prescription products used topically that can really change your life! Here in Chattanooga, we work closely with several compounding pharmacies that make special medications in unique delivery systems just for our patients. If swishing a lollipop around your mouth for 10 seconds and getting hours of dry mouth relief sounds good to you, then give us a call. McOmie Family Dentistry 423-899-1112.