Saliva is one of the most important protective mechanisms of the teeth. It assists food digestion, protects the body from microbes, balances the pH in the mouth, and supports the remineralization of teeth. Without saliva, teeth would dissolve. Denise Hunerkoch, Dental Hygienist, with Paducah Dental Care says, "20% to 40% of people are affected by dry mouth. In fact, dry mouth affects more women than men and is most common amongst older adults."
Causes of dry mouth include medication, aging, hereditary, poor diet, stress, cancer therapy, nerve damage, certain health conditions, tobacco use, and methamphetamine.
Dry mouth is a common problem that can be simply a nuisance by altering your appetite or enjoyment of food, or have a significant effect on your health and health of your teeth.
Symptoms of dry mouth
Dryness in mouth or throat
Thick and stringy saliva
Difficulty chewing, speaking and swallowing
Changed sense of taste
Problems wearing dentures
More frequent tooth decay
Irritation of gums and gum disease
Before seeing your dentist about dry mouth, make a list of the following information:
Any symptoms you have (include any that may seem unrelated to your teeth or mouth)
Personal information including major stressors or recent life changes
Prescribed medications including vitamins, supplements, over-the-counter medicines and their dosages
Questions to ask your doctor or dentist
During your visit, your dentist will likely examine your mouth and review your medical history and medications you are taking (including over-the-counter medicines). Your tests may take blood tests, imaging scans of your salivary glands or conduct a test to measure how much saliva you produce to identify the cause of your dry mouth. Examples of saliva test include the stimulated saliva test and the resting saliva flow test.
Visit Paducah Dental Care to learn more!