Dry Mouth: Uncomfortable & Dangerous for Your Teeth

dry mouth lips

You may think it is just about feeling thirsty or dry, but there are potentially serious consequences for having a chronically dry mouth.

Saliva neutralizes acids in your mouth and limits bacterial growth.  It also helps keep your teeth clean by rinsing away food debris.  When you have a shortage of saliva, your oral health can suffer.  The most common challenges are:

Increase in Cavities: Cavities thrive in a dry mouth.  The situation can be even worse if you are using sugary throat lozenges, gum, or hard candies to feel more comfortable.

Periodontal (Gum) Disease: When bacteria is not rinsed away by saliva it gathers into colonies and creates infections like gum disease.  Gum disease is the number one cause of tooth loss and has been linked to many life threatening conditions like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer’s.

Halitosis: Bad breath is a common side effect of having a dry mouth that can limit your social and relationship confidence.

There are things you can do to protect your teeth and gums.  Be sure to:

  • Talk to your dentist and hygienist about your dry mouth.  They may have recommendations and suggest you come in more often.
  • Sip water regularly
  • Try sugar free options for throat lozenges or candies
  • Chew sugarless gum to help keep your teeth clean
  • Eat plenty of crunchy fruits and vegetables

And, if you are in the Knoxville area, we would love to help.

Call (865) 922-1613

What Causes Dry Mouth Syndrome?

dry mouth lips

A mouth that feels chronically dry can be very uncomfortable. It can also make your teeth more susceptible to cavities and other mouth conditions.

The first step in resolving dry mouth syndrome is identifying what is causing it. Likely reasons include:

  1. Snoring or mouth breathing
  2. Smoking
  3. Chemotherapy
  4. Medications – including prescription and over the counter drugs for depression, anxiety, antihistamines, decongestants, blood pressure, diarrhea, muscle relaxers, urinary tract issues, and Parkinson’s
  5. Aging and menopause
  6. Medical conditions – diabetes, sinus problems, Parkinson’s, HIV/AIDS, anxiety, and depression

Most cases of dry mouth syndrome are treatable.

  • There are over the counter products like Biotene that can provide relief and may resolve the issue for you.
  • If you believe there is a direct correlation with medications, you can talk to your doctor to see if there are other options.
  • You can also talk to your dentist to learn more about how to get relief.

If you are in the Knoxville area, we would love to help.

Knoxville Family and Sedation Dentistry (865) 922-1613