Chronic dry mouth is associated with a number of oral health issues—from cavities to gum disease. The good news is that with a little forethought and persistence, you can protect your smile from these common pitfalls.
Why does dry mouth occur?
Patients experience dry mouth for a number of different reasons. For example, certain medications are known to create a dry oral environment. Obviously, if you are dehydrated, your body is going to have trouble producing an adequate amount of saliva for your smile. Also, patients who suffer from sleep apnea are prone to dry mouth, because their mouths are open—trying to inhale enough oxygen—during the night.
How can I treat dry mouth?
Our Lincoln Park dentists tailor treatment to address the root cause of your dysfunction. The first step will probably be to revamp your oral hygiene routine, so make sure that you’re clearing away as much bacteria and plaque as possible. Additionally:
- We may recommend that you add a mouth rinse to your routine, morning or night
- Make a point to rinse your mouth with water throughout the day, especially after eating or drinking anything other than water
- Drink plenty of water to combat dehydration
- Talk to your doctor about medications you’re on, and whether there are strategies/supplemental medications they’d recommend to lessen dry mouth
- Treat sleep apnea with either custom-crafted oral appliances or a CPAP machine, so that you are breathing in a healthy way throughout the night
What happens if dry mouth goes untreated?
It is crucial that you treat chronic dry mouth in a timely manner, because, over time it can negatively affect your oral health. Saliva is designed to help neutralize bacteria and re-mineralize dental enamel. So, when you don’t have enough saliva, harmful oral bacteria are able to run rampant. You’ll likely notice an increase in cavity and gum disease development, as well as hard-to-treat bad breath. You may also deal with advanced dental discoloration, since dental staining substances are able to sit on your dental enamel for extended periods of time.
Don’t wait to get the dental help you need to stay well. Our Lincoln Park dentists are here to help!