A decrease of saliva flow resulting in a dry mouth is a common issue, especially among older people.
Dry mouth is not only uncomfortable, it can cause tooth damage. Saliva is required to keep the mouth lubricated, wash the food from teeth, and neutralize the acids that can cause plaque. Extensive decay can occur in the absence of saliva for dental patients with chronic dry mouth.
Symptoms of dry mouth include:
- Dry, red or grooved tongue
- Persistent sore throat or hoarseness
- Sticky feeling in the mouth
- Saliva that seems thick and stringy
- Bad breath
- Difficulty chewing, speaking and swallowing
- Changes in taste
- Difficulty wearing dentures (Mayo Clinic)
Contributing factors include medications and treatments, reduction in the body’s power to metabolize medication, chronic health dilemmas and poor nutrition.
For example, chemotherapy medication can reduce saliva production and radiation treatments to the head and neck can damage salivary glands, decreasing saliva production.
Other medical problems include diabetes, stroke, or yeast infection in the mouth.
Decongestants, blood pressure medications, antidepressants, and painkillers (all used extensively in Burlington) are some of the medications that can bring about dry mouth.
It is common for allergy-prone Pediatric Dental Center dental patients to complain of dry mouth when they start taking antihistamines during the hay fever season.
The following can also contribute to dry mouth:
- Snoring or breathing through the mouth
- Drinking alcohol
- Tobacco use (cigarettes, e-cigarettes, chewing tobacco)
- Recreational drugs
If you experience dry mouth, it’s vital to pay special attention to your dental health. The first step is to talk to a professional. Call Pediatric Dental Center to schedule an appointment with Doctor Eric Soper.
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