Sometimes, seemingly innocuous things can cause dental damage. You can chip a tooth while walking your dog, get gingivitis from not flossing daily, and grind your teeth due to the slightest misalignment. Another problem that can lead to dental damage is xerostomia, or dry mouth. While dry mouth may not sound like a big deal, it can actually wreak havoc in your mouth. What possible problems could result from a little dehydration?
Because it’s caused by a number of things, dry mouth is fairly common. Some of the better known causes include:
- Medications such as antihistamines and bronchodilators
- Illnesses such as diabetes, anemia, and hypertension
- Medical treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation
- Smoking or using other tobacco products
Dry mouth isn’t just uncomfortable, it increases your risk of several oral maladies such as:
- Tooth decay — Saliva is nature’s toothbrush. When it flows naturally, it helps remove microscopic food particles from your teeth. When it doesn’t, food sits on your teeth and feeds the plaque bacteria.
- Gum disease — When plaque accumulates on your teeth and gum line, it hardens into tartar and inflames your gum tissue. If untreated, the gums begin to pull away from the teeth, ultimately resulting in tooth loss.
- Infections — Without saliva to naturally clean your mouth, you become more susceptible to infections such as thrush, a naturally occurring fungus that can grow out of control.
If you have persistent dry mouth, the best way to address it is to come to my office for a visit. Only a thorough examination can determine if you’ve started to experience any of the associated problems. Don’t put off scheduling an appointment, though. Let’s get treatment started before you start to deal with the effects, not after.