You probably don’t give too much thought to the saliva in your mouth, but you might think about it more frequently if it wasn’t there. The less saliva you have in your mouth, the less comfortable your mouth feels, and the more difficult it is to perform natural mouth functions, like swallowing, eating, and washing away food particles that can cause tooth decay. But beyond discomfort, dry mouth can lead to significant oral health problems that can reduce your overall health and wellness.

Here, our dentist in Gainesville, FL, discusses the primary causes of and treatments for dry mouth and offers recommendations for reducing your risk of developing this condition. Contact our Gainesville dental clinic today to book dental services for your needs!

What Is Dry Mouth?

Dry mouth or xerostomia occurs when salivary glands in your mouth do not produce enough saliva to keep the mouth sufficiently moist. Our mouths’ salivary glands create saliva to lubricate the mouth and help it remain clean. Everyone experiences dry mouth at some point in their lives, which usually happens as a result of dehydration. But if you have chronic dry mouth or dry mouth that occurs often or non-stop, you could have an underlying health problem. If you believe you may have xerostomia, our Gainesville dentist can assess your oral health and provide an answer and treatment recommendations.

What Is The Most Common Cause Of Dry Mouth?

There are several factors that can cause someone to develop dryness in their mouth, whether they experience dry mouth at night or during the day. The most common causes of dry mouth include the following factors. Conditions that can cause dry mouth include diabetes, nerve damage, cystic fibrosis, autoimmune conditions, oral thrush, and Alzheimer’s disease.

  • Dehydration
  • Breathing from the mouth
  • Snoring
  • Side effects from certain medications
  • Certain physical health issues
  • Aging
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Radiation therapy
  • Smoking

Symptoms Of Dry Mouth

Having a dry mouth typically creates a sticky, parched sensation in the mouth. The most common symptoms associated with dry mouth include difficulty swallowing, chewing, or speaking, difficulty tasting foods or beverages, an oral burning sensation, dry or cracked lips, oral sores, a dry tongue or throat, and bad breath. Dry mouth can be extremely uncomfortable, but it can also wreak havoc on the health of your teeth and gums.

Dry mouth increases your risk for developing tooth decay and cavities, bad breath, gum disease or periodontal disease, and fungal infections, as a healthy amount of saliva is required for the mouth to wash away leftover food particles and bacteria that lodge in between the teeth. Do you have symptoms of dry mouth? Call our dental practice today to schedule your appointment.

What Is The Treatment For Dry Mouth?

If you have xerostomia and you’re in search of an effective treatment for dry mouth, your dentist is your best resource for identifying the source of the problem and addressing it. When you come into our dental practice for a dry mouth, our dentist may prescribe you a fluoride treatment to use at home and/or administer topical treatments in our office.

They may also encourage you to use xylitol gum to stimulate saliva production in your mouth or antifungal or antibacterial mouth rinses. It may also be necessary to perform X-rays on a regular basis in order to ensure any dental decay is treated. In addition to dry mouth treatment performed in our office, there are also at-home recommendations to help alleviate dry mouth symptoms.

  • Sip water throughout the day
  • Do not use tobacco products or smoke
  • Decrease your consumption of caffeinated beverages
  • Avoid using mouthwashes formulated with alcohol
  • Breathe through your nose over your mouth
  • Use a humidifier while you sleep to encourage moisture
  • Do not use over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants
  • Chew sugar-free gum
  • Avoid highly acidic or sugary foods and beverages
  • Avoid foods that are very salty or spice