How Dry Mouth Can Lead to Dental Damage
By Stephen Dowell, DDS on December 20, 2017
Dry mouth (xerostomia) refers to a condition in which there is not enough saliva or moisture in a person's mouth. This leads to pronounced bad breath as well as difficulty chewing and speaking. These are just the minor inconveniences associated with the condition. In fact, dry mouth is linked to many other more serious issues that impact your dental health and overall wellness.
The team at Dowell Dental Group has helped countless patients in the Minerva area overcome dry mouth and the issues associated with it thanks to the use of advanced dental procedures. Let's briefly consider the dangers associated with dry mouth below.
Dry Mouth and Periodontal Health
When you do not have sufficient moisture in the mouth, oral bacteria can thrive. This means there's an increased risk of gum disease developing. This bacterial infection of the gum tissue can lead to a host of health issues, including irritated gums and bleeding gums. If left untreated, gingivitis (the first stage of gum disease) can lead to periodontitis and advanced periodontitis. The symptoms of these later stages of gum disease include gum recession, loose teeth, shifting of the teeth, and tooth loss.
Dry Mouth and Tooth Damage
Saliva plays an important role in remineralization, which keeps tooth enamel healthy and strong. Long or recurring bouts of dry mouth interrupt this process, resulting in teeth that are much weaker than they ought to be. This means an increased risk of tooth decay and tooth fractures. In addition, there's a higher risk of an acidic pH in the mouth related to dry mouth, which could result in enamel erosion and exposure of the underlying dentin layer of the teeth.
Dry Mouth and Oral Cancers
One of the big dangers to keep in mind when it comes to dry mouth is that it is often a symptom of many other systemic conditions. For instance, dry mouth may be an early sign of oral cancer, with a growth of some sort blocking or affecting the salivary glands.
If you notice persistent dry mouth in addition to oral lesions, pain in the mouth, and other problems, be sure to seek professional attention as soon as possible. Early detection of oral cancer or another condition is crucial.
Treating the Damage Caused by Dry Mouth
When dry mouth leads to periodontal damage or tooth damage, restorative dentistry procedures can help. Antiseptic medications and rinses can help manage gum disease and oral infections of various kinds, and restorations can be used to fix compromised teeth.
Addressing and Preventing Dry Mouth
When treating dry mouth itself, dentists will need to address the underlying cause. For blocked salivary glands, sometimes sucking on sour candies can help promote saliva production and dislodge whatever blockage is present. Regular hydration throughout the day can help address dry mouth linked to dehydration. Artificial saliva products can be used to create moisture in the mouth when saliva production is affected by age or other conditions.
Contact Dowell Dental Group
For more information about treating and preventing dry mouth and other topics related to your dental care needs, contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. The team at Dowell Dental Group is here to help you smile with renewed confidence.
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