As we age, our oral environment changes along with many other things. Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, is a condition characterized by a lack of saliva production in the mouth and is often caused by medications. While it may seem like a minor inconvenience, dry mouth can have a significant impact on a person’s overall quality of life and dental health. In today’s blog, your Pella, IA, dentist explores the symptoms of dry mouth, its effect on oral health, and potential solutions.
Symptoms of Dry Mouth
Dry mouth can have frustrating, painful, and embarrassing symptoms. It can manifest in various symptoms, including persistent thirst and a dry, sticky feeling in the mouth, difficulty speaking and eating, sore throat or hoarseness, cracked lips, and sores in the mouth.
Dental Issues and Solutions
- Tooth Decay: Reduced saliva flow decreases the mouth’s natural ability to wash away food particles and neutralize acids, increasing the risk of dental decay. If this occurs, we have tooth-colored fillings to restore your teeth. We may also prescribe a prescription toothpaste to try and prevent future decay.
- Gum Disease: Without sufficient saliva, bacteria can thrive, leading to gum inflammation and eventual gum disease if left untreated. To fight periodontal disease, we offer deep cleaning procedures. We can also increase the frequency of your cleanings to keep the oral bacteria under control.
- Mouth Infections: Dry mouth can create an environment prone to fungal or bacterial infections, such as oral thrush. We can prescribe medications to fight the infections and will monitor your condition closely. Let us know as soon as you experience symptoms so that we can treat it early and minimize pain and discomfort.
- Difficulty Wearing Dentures: Insufficient saliva can make wearing dentures uncomfortable, leading to sore spots or ill-fitting prosthetics. Implant support dentures may be an option for you. These offer better stability and comfort and could be an ideal solution.
What Can You Do at Home?
Thankfully, there are numerous things one can do to fight dry mouth symptoms. Most importantly, drink plenty of water throughout the day to maintain moisture in the mouth and consider chewing sugar-free gum if you do not suffer from jaw issues. Limit consumption of alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco as they contribute to dry mouth by dehydrating you. There are various over-the-counter products to provide relief. Consider using oral moisturizers, dental lozenges, mouth sprays, or rinses specifically designed for dry mouth relief. Avoid mouth rinses with alcohol as they will dry the tissues out even more.
Schedule Your Dental Check-Up Today
Dry mouth may seem like a minor inconvenience, but its impact on quality of life can be significant. Allow us to monitor your oral health and prevent dry mouth from causing damage to your mouth. Give us a call at Allen & Neumann Family Dentistry in Pella, IA at (641)628-1121.