Did you know that the amount of saliva in your mouth is directly related to your oral health? Saliva plays a crucial role in preventing the overgrowth of the bacteria and fungi that reside in your mouth, and if you don’t have enough, it can lead to several harmful conditions. If you have frequent dry mouth, the team at American Dental has some information for you about this condition and what you can do about it.
How Does Saliva Help Maintain Your Oral Health?
Right now, there are billions of bacteria and fungi living in your mouth. It’s nothing to worry about; in fact, many of these microorganisms are part of your natural mouth biome known as probiotics. These helpful bacteria aid in digestion and help keep harmful bacteria and candida fungus in check. Your saliva also helps wash away harmful bacteria and keeps other microorganism populations from growing out of control. When you suffer from frequent dry mouth, it can allow bacteria and fungi to multiply too rapidly, causing harmful conditions.
Conditions Related to Dry Mouth
Two of the most common harmful bacteria present in your mouth are Streptococcus mutans and Porphyromonas gingivalis. Both of these bacteria have the potential to cause various infections and they also contribute to tooth decay and the destruction of bone and gum tissue that leads to tooth loss. Candida fungus is another microorganism that lives in your mouth, and it can cause a condition known as thrush if it grows too quickly.
Dry mouth can also cause:
- Bad breath
- Sore throat
- Difficulty with speaking and eating
- Frequent thirst
- Mouth sores
- Difficulty tasting food
- Tooth decay
Causes of Dry Mouth
A dry mouth can be caused by a medical condition, or it can be related to lifestyle choices and medications. Persistent dry mouth is most often caused by:
- Medical conditions including diabetes, stroke, oral yeast infection, Alzheimer’s disease, and more
- Medications including antidepressants, blood pressure medication, antihistamines, and more
- Tobacco use
- Alcohol use
- Recreational drug use
- Cancer treatment
- Nerve damage or injuries to the salivary glands
Treating Dry Mouth
If your dry mouth is caused by a specific condition or medication, your doctor or dentist may have some advice for you. Some medications stimulate saliva production, but it is always better to try and address the root cause before treating the symptoms. Cutting out caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol-based mouthwashes can help. You can also try drinking more water to improve saliva production and keep your mouth clean. Some mouthwashes on the market contain Xylitol or other ingredients designed to increase saliva production as well. If you have a dry mouth at night, sleeping with a humidifier in your room may help.
Contact Our Dental Offices in Downtown Chicago
It is important to realize that frequent dry mouth is a serious health issue. If you are living with this condition, it is important to speak to a dentist or doctor as soon as possible. If you are a Chicagoland resident, American Dental has 8 locations in the area to serve you. Click the “Make an Appointment” button to find our dental services in Downtown Chicago, or other nearby communities and schedule your appointment today!