At first, some patients may mistake a sensation of dry mouth for thirst. While dehydration can cause dry mouth, there other factors that contribute to these symptoms. Patients with habitual dry mouth should discuss their symptoms with their dentist. This will help rule out factors that may contribute to dry mouth along with providing tips for addressing this issue. Infrequent symptoms of dry mouth are normally benign, but persistent dryness can irritate soft oral tissues and the gums. Following is some helpful information and oral health tips.
Saliva and Oral Health
When a patient feels that his or her mouth is dry, it is normally because there is not enough saliva production. Saliva plays an important role in maintaining a healthy mouth. It can help neutralize acid, thus keeping a healthy Ph balance and it is a natural way to rinse the mouth of debris and bacteria. When the mouth is dry, bacteria flourish and teeth may be vulnerable to erosion from acid. Additionally, frequent dry mouth can inflame gingival tissue.
Causes of Dry Mouth
The medical term for dry mouth is xerostomia. The sensation of dryness in the mouth can be caused by common medications such as Benadryl or any other anti-histamine and other prescription medications like antidepressants. Another common contributor to dry mouth are health conditions—especially diabetes. Other diseases that coincide with xerostomia include rheumatoid arthritis, anemia, and hypertension. Patients undergoing radiation therapy for cancer may also experience dry mouth.
Improving Xerostomia Symptoms
If a patient is prone to dry mouth because of his or her health or medication, our team strongly encourages a meticulous oral hygiene regimen. Patients should brush for at least three minutes, twice a day—preferably after meals and before bed. Flossing daily is important as well. Dry mouth can be improved by sipping water throughout the day and avoiding salty and dry food. Patients should consider using alcohol-free mouthwash, too, as it could dry out the mouth. Avoiding tobacco products and limiting caffeine intake are also recommended.
If you have dry mouth symptoms, we recommend that you discuss it with your dentist. To schedule an appointment with our skilled team at Dental Depot, contact any of our convenient locations today.