A common side effect of certain medications, natural aging or radiation therapy, Dry Mouth puts individuals at risk for a number of oral health conditions. This is because saliva plays an integral role in neutralizing acids and washing away harmful bacteria in the mouth, not to mention it aids in chewing and digesting food. Continue reading to discover what you need to know about dry mouth.
To begin, the Mayo Clinic lists the following symptoms associated with dry mouth:
- Dryness or a feeling of stickiness in the mouth
- Saliva that seems thick and/or stringy
- Bad breath
- Difficulty chewing, speaking or swallowing
- Dry or sore throat and hoarseness
- Dry or grooved tongue
- Changed sense of taste
- Problems wearing dentures
Given the above-mentioned symptoms, perhaps you’re wondering when to see a doctor. As a rule, if you’ve experienced persistent symptoms of dry mouth, it’s wise to schedule an appointment with a dentist quickly. While a dentist can perform a comprehensive assessment of your dental health, he/she can also help you determine the cause of your dry mouth symptoms and provide insight into preserving your oral health.
Meanwhile, there are a few home remedies to note. For instance, it’s best to avoid mouthwashes that contain alcohol, as this promotes dryness. Similarly, avoid toothpastes with sodium lauryl sulfate. If possible, avoid or cut back on caffeine, as well as tobacco and alcoholic beverages. To stimulate saliva production, drink plenty of water (8-10 glasses each day) and opt for sugar-free chewing gum or lozenges. If dry mouth is worse in the morning, try sleeping with a humidifier in your room at night.
What Will My Dentist Do?
When it comes to dry mouth treatment, dentists begin with a comprehensive examination of a patient’s oral and dental health. The dentist will check for signs of periodontal disease and cavities, as well as plaque build-up and gum recession. Fortunately, there are practical treatment methods that combat the damaging effects of dry mouth and help patients move towards optimal oral health.