Do I Have Dry Mouth?
Saliva is amazing and acts as a super hero to each of your teeth. Saliva plays a very important role in keeping your teeth healthy. Saliva neutralizes acid in your mouth, increases your ability to taste food, cleanses, prevents infection and controls bacteria in the mouth. Saliva protects, washes your teeth and prevents cavities. You truly can’t have too much saliva and probably won’t give it much thought unless you don’t have it. Without it, problems can arise.
How Do I Know If I Have Dry Mouth?
Short answer: You’ll know!
Symptoms of dry mouth
• Sticky mouth- which can make it difficult to swallow and speak
• Burning or tingling of the tongue
• Dry, red tongue. Tongue may even have a smooth or glossy look to it
• Bad breath
• Increase in cavities, especially areas where the teeth and gums meet.
I Have Dry Mouth. Why?
Most likely it’s due to prescription medication. So many medications have side effects and a common one is dry mouth.
Other reasons for dry mouth could be:
• Diseases and infections (Diabetes, Arthritis, high blood pressure)
• Medical treatments (radiation and chemo)
• lifestyle (smoking, chewing tobacco, mouth breathing)
Why Is Having a Dry Mouth Such a Big Deal at the Dental Office?
Like mentioned above, saliva protects the teeth. So without saliva to wash away bacteria and food, you are more at risk for cavities, gingivitis, thrush and can even make wearing a denture difficult.
How Do I Treat Dry Mouth?
Since medications are a main cause of dry mouth, discuss with your medical doctor and determine if an alternate medication could be used. If not, there are some products over the counter that can be used to manage dry mouth symptoms. Common products are Biotene, Oasis and ACT. These products come in forms of toothpastes, gums, lozenges, rinses, gels, etc.
If decay is a recurrent problem for you due to the dry mouth, Fluoride Treatments, Prescription dry mouth toothpastes, and more frequent dental visits are things we can do. Other things to try: increase your water intake, chew sugar-free gum, and get an electric toothbrush – all are proven to increase and stimulate saliva flow.