Of all the reasons you might go to see a Corvallis family dentist, a dry mouth probably isn’t very high on your list. But while dry mouth may seem like more of a nuisance than a serious oral health problem, you might be surprised at just how big a role saliva actually plays in keeping your teeth looking and feeling their best.
We all require saliva to moisten our mouths and to help wash away food particles from the surface of our teeth and gums after eating. Saliva also works to prevent gum disease by neutralizing the harmful oral bacteria most responsible for causing the inflammation that leads to gingivitis, an early stage of the disease.
When your body doesn’t produce enough saliva, your mouth starts to become a dry and uncomfortable place for your teeth and gums. Fortunately, your Corvallis family dentist offers a number of treatment options designed to help prevent and treat dry mouth.
Common Causes of Dry Mouth
Our mouths should be a moist and rather damp place. When something goes wrong and dry mouth develops, there’s usually something causing the change. Some of the most common causes of dry mouth include:
- Prescription medications. Certain types of prescription medications can cause dry mouth as a side effect. Medications that treat conditions as varied as depression, anxiety, pain, allergies, obesity, high blood pressure, and asthma are all known to cause dry mouth as a potential side effect.
- Disease. Dry mouth can also be the side effect of an underlying medical condition, such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes, Parkinson’s, stoke, mumps and diabetes.
- Dehydration. By far one of the most common and easily treatable causes of dry mouth, dehydration can be the result of illness, excessive sweating or vomiting, or simply from working out.
- Lifestyle habits. Habits such as smoking or drinking can also cause dry mouth to develop.
Common Symptoms of Dry Mouth
Many patients who experience dry mouth don’t consider the condition a serious problem. Some don’t even realize they have a problem because they don’t recognize the symptoms of the condition, which include:
- An uncomfortable sticky or dry feeling in the mouth
- Feeling consistently thirsty
- The development of oral sores, skin the splits at the edge of the mouth and/or cracked lips
- A dry feeling in the throat
- A tongue that appears red and feels dry and raw
- Difficulty eating, drinking or talking
- Bad breath
How Dry Mouth Causes Problems
Now that we’ve examined the causes and symptoms of dry mouth, let’s briefly look at why having the condition even matters. Well, in addition to causing the symptoms mentioned above, dry mouth also increases your risk for developing a range of chronic oral health conditions, such as tooth decay, gum disease and oral infections, such as thrush.
As we mentioned earlier, saliva plays a role in helping the mouth remove food particles that might otherwise linger after eating and by neutralizing harmful oral bacteria. Without enough saliva, these substances are allowed to remain in the mouth for an extended period of time. The longer they stay, the more damage they can do.
Treating Dry Mouth
Treating your case of dry mouth requires understanding what’s causing the condition. This means you need to visit your Corvallis family dentist when suffering from dry mouth. Dr. Travelstead will perform a thorough examination to determine the cause of your condition. Once the cause of your dry mouth has been identified, Dr. Travelstead can provide you with a treatment solution that may help eliminate the symptoms are restore your mouth back to health.