SALIVA IS ESSENTIAL not only for our oral health, but for our overall comfort. We all experience a dry mouth every once in awhile and know how bothersome it can be. But what does it mean? And what should we do if it persists?
Saliva Has An Important Role In Our Oral Health
Our bodies are constantly producing saliva to provide our mouths with moisture–we generate two to four pints of saliva a day! Saliva aids in digestion and allows us to taste and process food. It also protects our mouths by washing away food debris and strengthening our teeth against cavities!
Dry Mouth Can Be Caused By A Number Of Things
Dry mouth occurs when salivary glands are not working properly resulting in an inadequate flow of saliva. It can leave us feeling thirsty and hoarse and our mouths sticky and uncomfortable. We may have problems speaking or trouble tasting and swallowing. It also causes bad breath. Needless to say, not having enough saliva is no fun!
Our mouths may get dry occasionally due to nervousness or stress. More serious and persistent cases of dry mouth, however, are the result of a number of other things, such as:
- Certain medications like antihistamines, painkillers, decongestants, diuretics, among others.
- Lifestyle choices such as smoking or chewing tobacco.
- Illnesses including Sjögren’s syndrome, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes, to name a few.
- Medical treatments that can damage salivary glands, such as radiation and chemotherapy.
- Dehydration and conditions that cause dehydration such as fever, excessive sweating, diarrhea, vomiting, blood loss and burns.
Orthodontic Treatment Can Cause Dry Mouth
Even orthodontic treatment can cause your mouth to feel dry, especially after an adjustment. The reason for this is that braces can cause irritation to your gums and the sides of your mouth. This irritation can sometimes cause dryness. Throughout your orthodontic treatment and especially after adjustments, make sure you’re drinking enough water.
Talk To Us About Dry Mouth
More than just discomfort, having a dry mouth raises your risk of tooth decay, gum disease and infection and should therefore be taken care of as soon as possible. Depending on the cause of your dry mouth, we can help determine the best course of treatment. In the meantime, try some at-home remedies such as chewing on sugarless gum or sucking on sugar-free candy. And as always, drink plenty of water!
We’re committed to you–our amazing patients!
Top image by Flickr user Jeremy Buckingham used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.