Do you wake up with your mouth so dry it feels like you’ve been trapped in the Sahara for a month? Is your breath so bad paint peels and small children run away screaming? You might have dry mouth and it could damage your teeth.
Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, is a common problem for millions of people have in varying degrees. It can be minor or it can be so severe your lips crack and you develop gum disease.
What Causes Dry Mouth?
Dry mouth isn’t a disease in itself, it more of a symptom of other issues. One of the most common symptoms of Type 2 diabetes is dry mouth and excessive thirst. Many medications have side effects that include dry mouth. The natural process of aging is enough to cause a decrease in saliva production and create dry mouth.
If you smoke, then you can experience dry mouth. Sleeping with your mouth open at night can lead to dry mouth in the morning. Dry mouth is a common problem and its primary symptom is a lack of saliva, but can also include dry cracked lips, burning or tingling in your mouth and bad breath.
Why is Dry Mouth Bad for Your Teeth?
Saliva is important for overall mouth health. Without it, people can have difficulty speaking, swallowing foods, chewing and can develop tooth decay. The primary cause of tooth decay is acidic foods and by-products of bacteria eating away at the enamel of your teeth.
Saliva is like the body’s dishwasher. It breaks down foods, lowers acidity and can wash bacteria away from teeth. When this line of defense is gone, then it wreaks havoc on your teeth. It can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Dry mouth may seem harmless, but if gone unchecked it can lead to serious tooth and gum problems.
How to Eliminate Dry Mouth
Dry mouth is a symptom of many illnesses and conditions, but there are ways to stop it. The best way is to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated.
Water helps to moisten the inside of your mouth and makes sure there is plenty of material for saliva production. It can even help wash away bacteria and lower acidity like saliva. Don’t drink sugary beverages to stay hydrated.
Chewing sugar-free gum can help saliva production and naturally improve moisture. Keep a humidifier at the ready to increase moisture in your home. Many times winter weather and furnaces can make a home dry.
Alcohol is a desiccant and caffeine is a diuretic, both decrease water in the body. Try to limit both throughout the day and especially at night.
Do you suffer from dry mouth? Do you think it can be contributing to your tooth problems? Contact Dr. Ed and his friendly staff at A Lifetime of Smiles today and let us help you.