|Dr. Alan Wishneff D.D.S.
Restorative Dentistry / Oral Health
August 1, 2017
There are times when your mouth can feel dry and scratchy. This is a condition known as xerostomia or more commonly known as dry mouth. This feeling of dryness is caused by a reduction in the production of saliva in the mouth. It can be a very uncomfortable feeling and if it is left untreated it can lead to dental problems down the line. There are some ways that you can alleviate the effects of dry mouth at home. However, if these don’t work and dry mouth persists for a few weeks than it is time to see your physician or dentist.
Causes of Dry Mouth
Xerostomia or dry mouth occurs when there is a lack of saliva and it can be attributed to some of the following conditions:
- Medical Side Effects – Dry mouth is a common side effect of some disease, including diabetes, leukemia, pernicious anemia, AIDS and Hodgkin disease. Cancer patients will likely lose the ability to produce saliva during radiation treatment because the radiation destroys salivary glands. Certain medications can also cause dry mouth.
- Dehydration – When you do not drink enough water, your mouth can become dry. If you drink too much coffee you may start to experience dry mouth due to a diuretic effect. Exercising or spending long amounts of time in the sun and not drinking enough water can cause you to dehydrate.
- Vitamin Deficiencies – For some, their dry mouth can stem from a vitamin deficiency. Saliva production may still be normal, but a vitamin deficiency can affect the lining of the mouth, which causes a sense of dryness.
Some of the most common symptoms of dry mouth are the following:
- A cotton feeling that can make eating, talking and swallowing difficult.
- Burning feeling in the mouth and on the tongue or the presence of sores.
- Cracking near the corners of the mouth and around the edges of the lips.
- A foul taste or breath that is hard to get rid of.
At Home Remedies
If dry mouth continues for too long and is left untreated it can cause dental problems to occur. Saliva generally helps to dilute the bacterial acid in the mouth that decays the tooth enamel and irritates the gums. So when there is a reduction in the production of saliva than tooth decay can become severe. There are some home remedies that can fight against dry mouth and protect the teeth.
- Drinking more water – It is always a good idea to drink water more often than other drinks. Keep a bottle of water handy so you can sip on some throughout the day. Try to stay away from acidic beverages like soda, orange juice and drinks that contain citric or phosphoric acid. The combination of dry mouth and acidic liquids in the mouth can increase the risk of the development of cavities on the teeth.
- Chewing gum – Chewing sugar-free gum will help increase the flow and production of saliva.
- Mouth Rinse – With the cavity ripe environment caused by dry mouth, it is a good idea to use a fluoride rinse after you brush the teeth. The fluoride rinse can help to remineralize teeth and protect them from gum disease.
- Over the counter products – There are products on the market that are made specifically for fighting against dry mouth. Some of these products include sprays, rinses and toothpastes.
- Humidifier – While you are sleeping use a humidifier to keep the air moist in the bedroom.
- Vitamins – Vitamin C helps oral tissue repair damage that is caused by excessive dryness in the mouth. B vitamins help to improve the immune system which will help you battle bacterium.
For more information about this topic or any other dental topic, contact Dr.Wishneff at [email protected] or call (561) 488-3111. Dr. Alan Wishneff is a Boca Raton Dentist dedicated to bringing patients state-of-the-art dental care. As a cosmetic, family and restorative dentist, he helps patients enjoy a natural and healthy smile. He is trained in cosmetic dentistry, including porcelain veneers; advanced cosmetic bonding techniques; oral surgery; medical emergency procedures; advanced crown and bridge; advanced TMJ; implant dentistry; endodontics-root canals: utilization of most advanced dental materials. Dr, Wishneff and staff are dedicated to providing great smiles in Boca Raton for more than 30 years. After more than two decades of practicing dentistry in Boca Raton, Dr. Wishneff is more committed than ever to this community.