The Dangers of Chronic Dry Mouth Syndrome
By Stephen Rogers on October 08, 2014
Most of us have experienced dry mouth at some point in our lives, and it is not likely that any of us particularly enjoyed the experience. However, dry mouth can be more than simply an irritating inconvenience. For the millions of people who suffer from chronic dry mouth, it can actually pose a threat to their oral health.
Fortunately, at our highly respected restorative dentistry practice in Long Island, dry mouth treatment can help to alleviate the symptoms of this chronic condition while preventing long-term damage to our patients’ oral health. If you have been living with dry mouth, we may have a solution that’s just right for you.
The Connection between Dry Mouth and Oral Health
You need your saliva to perform virtually every task that involves your mouth, including chewing, speaking, swallowing, and tasting. Without it, the delicate soft tissues of your mouth would be unable to function. Furthermore, saliva is essential to keeping your mouth clean. It helps to remove acids, bacteria, food particles, and other debris from your teeth and gums. Mouths that do not produce inadequate saliva tend to have much higher levels of these destructive elements and are therefore far more vulnerable to tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health problems.
Causes of Dry Mouth
Some people are simply unfortunate and are genetically predisposed to dry mouth. Others, however, contribute to their condition through their lifestyle choices. The most common causes of chronic dry mouth include:
- Overconsumption of beverages that contain caffeine, including coffee and tea
- Overconsumption of alcohol
- Mouth breathing, particularly during sleep
- Certain illnesses and infections
- Medications, especially those intended to dry nasal passages
Some of these causes can be addressed through changes in habits and lifestyle. If you smoke, for example, find a way to stop, seeking out help if necessary. If you drink a lot of coffee, try to cut back, or drink decaffeinated if possible. If you are frequently dehydrated, increase your water intake, especially after you exercise or if you live in a particularly dry climate.
Symptoms of Dry Mouth
Simply having a dry mouth from time to time does not necessarily mean you suffer from chronic dry mouth, especially if it tends to subside within a few hours of drinking plenty of water. If you employ lifestyle changes as suggested above, and your condition improves, professional intervention probably is not necessary. If, however, you experience any of the following symptoms along with dry mouth that perseveres for more than a few days at a time, you should contact our dental practice:
- Sore, scratchy throat
- Dry, swollen tongue
- Difficulty swallowing
- Bad breath
- Constant thirst that cannot be quenched
In some cases, chronic dry mouth is a condition that can be treated through multiple therapies, including prescription mouth rinses, topical fluoride applications, and special gums and tablets. In other cases, dry mouth is actually a symptom of a more serious underlying condition. The only way to know for sure is to have your mouth thoroughly examined by one of our highly skilled dental professionals.
Learn More about the Dangers of Dry Mouth
To learn more about the dangers of dry mouth, please contact Greater Long Island Dental today.
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