A decline of saliva flow resulting in a dry mouth is a common dental issue, especially among older people.
Dry mouth is not only uncomfortable, but it can cause real tooth damage. Saliva is necessary to keep the mouth lubricated, wash food from teeth, and neutralize the acids that can cause plaque. Extensive cavities 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
Contributing elements include medications and treatments, reduction in the body’s capacity to metabolize medication, chronic health issues, and poor nutrition.
For example, chemotherapy medication can curtail 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 Houston) are some of the medications that can bring about dry mouth.
It is common for allergy-prone patients at The Gentle Art of Dentistry 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 Sleep Apnea
- Drinking alcohol
- Tobacco use (cigarettes, e-cigarettes, chewing tobacco)
- Recreational drugs
If you experience dry mouth, it’s critical to pay special attention to your dental health. The first step is to talk to a professional. Call The Gentle Art of Dentistry to schedule an appointment with Doctor Scott Anderson.