Are you waking up with dry mouth symptoms? Do you suffer from periodic or chronic bouts of halitosis? Perhaps you have been plagued by excessive thirst or other related issues? Maybe these conditions have contributed to poor oral health? If so, here are a few tidbits to consider when your mouth is dry, along with some tips to help combat this unpleasant affliction if any of these maladies affect you or your loved ones.
First, it is important to note that saliva is often underrated. Additionally, many people are unaware of the importance of saliva to our oral health. The fact is, if you do not produce enough saliva, it can cause significant problems. Moreover, not only does saliva production affect symptoms of dry mouth, or xerostomia, as it is also known, but it also plays an integral role in the prevention of gum disease and tooth decay. It may be a source of discomfort and distressing, but your dentist has a variety of treatment and prevention options.
As we age, it is quite common to see symptoms of dry mouth in older adults. Moreover, our bodies are more susceptible to the impact of our lifestyle choices, and we also respond differently to medications as well as the ravages of time.
That being said, here are some of the leading causes of dry mouth, according to the Mayo Clinic and American Dental Association, or ADA as it is commonly known:
The symptoms of dry mouth are quite telling, as outlined by the Mayo Clinic. A few common signs of dry mouth include the following:
Saliva protects your teeth and gums by combating bacteria. Moreover, it contains digestive enzymes that aid in digesting and enjoying your food. When you are not producing enough saliva and your mouth is dry, it can lead to a myriad of oral health issues. Some of the oral health problems that can arise are listed below:
If you experience symptoms of dry mouth, you must contact a dentist as soon as possible to avert damage to your teeth and gums as well as poor oral health.
Maintaining regular dental checkups and cleanings is one of the best ways to prevent oral health issues, including dry mouth. Outlined below are some other tips for the prevention of dry mouth symptoms:
If you require an over-the-counter decongestant or antihistamine, keep in mind that a dry mouth can result. According to the Mayo Clinic, experts recommend focusing on breathing via your nose, not your mouth. Furthermore, they also suggest sleeping with a humidifier to boost ambient moisture and saliva production.
When your mouth is dry and you require help from a dental professional, the primary goal is to restore moisture to your mouth. There are many treatments available for this condition. They can range from doctor-prescribed applications to over-the-counter, or OTC, products. Some of the common treatments include the following:
Dry mouth is associated with several health conditions and can impact your overall physical as well as dental health in a myriad of ways. As such, your dentist and primary physician should be teammates in protecting your overall well-being. In many cases, the dentist is the first line of defense in noticing symptoms that may compromise your health. If needed, they will likely recommend a follow-up with your primary doctor.
Your dental professional understands that when you do not produce adequate saliva, it can lead to a dry mouth. However, it is crucial to note that dry mouth itself is not a disease but rather a symptom of another issue or condition.
At Atlantic Dental Group, we understand that proper oral care involves more than just your mouth. In many cases, oral health issues can alert you to other possible maladies in the body. Namely, these conditions frequently manifest when a serious, or even life-threatening, medical ailment is present. Conversely, dry mouth may be a side effect that can be addressed by the use of over-the-counter products and via altering lifestyle behaviors. Regardless of your motivations or circumstances, making a dental appointment is the first step to better health, prevention, and overall well-being.