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Dry Mouth: What You Need to Know

dry mouth patient

By Dr. Gregg M. Festa, DDS

What is Dry Mouth?

Dry mouth, also known as Xerostomia by its medical name, is exactly what it sounds like. It occurs when a patient’s mouth doesn’t have enough saliva to keep it wet.

What Causes Dry Mouth?

It may be caused by certain medications, salivary gland problems, certain medical conditions or continuous mouth breathing. Certain medications can cause a patient’s mouth to become extremely dry. Medical issues such as salivary gland problems are also known to cause dry mouth. This is when the glands in your mouth are not working as they normally would and therefore do not create enough saliva to keep your mouth moist. When a patient breathes through their mouth, they are constantly reducing the amount of wetness in their mouth and in turn, creating a perfect environment for dry mouth.  

What are the Health Effects of Dry Mouth?

It causes a number of symptoms that can cause a chain reaction and lead to additional health problems. These include dry lips, dry tongue, bad breath, mouth sores, gum disease, tooth decay, and other dental health issues. Tooth decay can accelerate halitosis, and periodontal disease. The health of your gums has a direct impact on the health of your mouth and vice versa.

Those who take medications that can cause dry mouth, may be good candidates for fluoride treatments. The majority of adult dental patients know that children often receive fluoride treatments but adults also benefit from fluoride. Adults with dry mouth and other conditions would benefit the most from additional fluoride treatments because fluoride protects your teeth and enamel to be less susceptible to decay.

There are a number of reasons for why a patient might get dry mouth and many potential health effects if it goes untreated. Talk with you dentist about treatment options. Learn more at dentistnorthraleigh.com or make an appointment for a consultation.