Monday, December 18, 2017

Dry Mouth and Oral Health

Your mouth is dry, so you drink some water. Everyone gets dry mouth. It is a way your body tells you it needs to drink more water. Temporary dry mouth is normal. Chronic dry mouth that is not quenched even after drinking water or some other type of beverage, on the other hand, is not normal, nor is it good for your teeth.

Your mouth is naturally moistened by saliva. Saliva washes and rinses the mouth of food and drink particles that had gotten lodged on and between teeth.

What is Xerostomia?

Xerostomia is the dental/medical term for chronic dry mouth. It is when the saliva glands aren’t properly and don’t produce enough saliva. Dry mouth is a serious oral health condition that can lead to the occurrence if severe dental issues such as cavities and gum disease.

Patients with dry mouth don’t produce enough saliva to properly or thoroughly clean out one’s mouth. Saliva, as mentioned earlier is the body’s natural mouthwash.

Without adequate saliva, the food and sugar particles from the food and drinks consumed during the day stay stuck in the mouth, usually between teeth. The particles breakdown and decay. Over time, layers of decayed food particles build up and create a film called plaque. Without saliva to wash it away, the plaque can harden into tartar which can only be removed by a dentist.

The twice daily teeth brushing and flossing can help slow the growth of plaque and tartar, but it isn’t enough to halt it without the addition of saliva. Saliva rinses the mouth out during the day when one doesn’t have access to a toothbrush, toothpaste or dental floss.

The Symptoms of Xerostomia

The symptoms of chronic dry mouth are a little different than the thirsty, cotton-mouth. The symptoms of xerostomia are more extreme and include the following:

  • A sticky, dry feeling in the mouth and/or throat
  • Difficulty in chewing, swallowing, tasting or speaking
  • A burning feeling in the mouth
  • A dry tongue
  • Cracked, chapped lips
  • Irritated gums
  • Frequent tooth decay
  • Sores on the inside of the mouth
  • Bad breath (halitosis)

What Causes Xerostomia?

Xerostomia has a variety of causes. The most common causes of this includes:

  • Improperly working saliva glands
  • Nervousness
  • Stress
  • Aging
  • Radiation and chemotherapy
  • Sjogren’s Syndrome
  • Smoking
  • Medications
  • Drugs

This is a common side effect of both legal medications and illegal drugs. If you’re taking certain medications for a prolonged period, speak to your doctor and dentist as to what Dry mouth can occur when the glands in the mouth that make saliva are not working properly. Some common causes include nervousness, stress, certain medications, aging, cancer therapy (radiation/chemotherapy), and autoimmune disorders like Sjogren’s syndrome, smoking and methamphetamine use.

Having this is uncomfortable and can cause significant tooth decay and gum disease if not treated. While the occasional dryness is a natural indicator to drink more water, chronic, consistent dry mouth is a dental health condition that you need to talk to your dentist about.



Source by Anna Bird

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