Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Dangers of Dry Mouth

Dry mouth, or xerostomia, is any condition is which your mouth is abnormally dry. It is usually caused by a decrease in saliva produced by the glands in your mouth, and is mostly commonly a side effect of medication.

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

Bad breath

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! 

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