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38th Street Dental

How Dry Mouth Causes Different Kinds of Dental Damage

By Mike Meek, DDS on April 22, 2017

A large model of a toothWe take all kinds of dental health problems seriously at our Austin dental care practice. Even a small issue like chronic bad breath may be the sign of a more significant underlying problem that requires advanced restorative dentistry treatment. Take dry mouth, for example.

Dry mouth refers to the lack of moisture in a person's mouth. This means that there is no saliva present or there is an issue with proper saliva production. Without saliva, people are likely to experience problems biting, chewing, and speaking. In addition, this can lead to a number of other dental health problems.

Causes of Dry Mouth

Some of the most common causes of dry mouth include the following:

  • Stress and anxiety
  • Dehydration
  • Blocked salivary glands
  • Advanced age
  • Nerve damage
  • Side effects from medications
  • Systemic health problems
  • Use of tobacco products

Combinations of the above can lead to more serious issues with dry mouth.

Increased Risk of Tooth Decay and Acidic Erosion

Your saliva helps remove dead cells in the mouth while also remineralizing the teeth. This is essential for keeping the teeth strong and preventing fractures of various kinds. When your mouth is dry, you run a greater risk of suffering from tooth decay and fractures. What's more, there's also a greater risk of acidic erosion, which refers to the weakening of the tooth enamel as a result of an acidic pH in the mouth.

Increased Risk of Gum Disease

In addition to problems affecting the teeth, dry mouth can also lead to problems with your gum. A dry mouth is an ideal condition for oral bacteria to thrive. This increases the risk of gum disease. Left untreated, your recurring dry mouth may lead to a case of gingivitis becoming periodontitis.

Dental Stains and Cosmetic Flaws

When your mouth is dry and serious issues are affecting the teeth, this will inevitably lead to staining and other kinds of cosmetic flaws. Your teeth are more like to become a dingy color, and there is a risk of chips and cracks forming as well, which can turn a good smile into an unsightly one.

Possible Sign of a Serious Health Problem

As alluded to above, dry mouth is often an early symptom of various medical problems. This includes oral cancers. If you notice recurring dry mouth as well as pain, oral lesions, and other issues that are of serious concern, be sure to speak with your dentist or doctor about it right away. Early detection and treatment of a problem is always for the best.

Tips for Dealing with Dry Mouth

To prevent dry mouth from occurring in your everyday life, the best thing you can do is stay properly hydrated throughout the day with water. Avoid tobacco products, and also consider taking it easy with alcoholic beverages as those can dry out the mouth as well.

If your dry mouth is not alleviated through simple hydration, your dentist may recommend sucking on sour candies to promote saliva production and dislodge blockages. Artificial saliva products are also available to create moisture in your mouth when needed.

More serious issues with dry mouth will have to be dealt with through more advanced therapies. These advanced treatments can be discussed during a consultation at our practice.

Learn More About Improving Your Dental Health

If you would like more information about your dental health and wellness options, be sure to contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. The team at 38th Street Dental will work closely with your to address any problems you are facing.

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