Dry Mouth

Dry Mouth

How It Can Affect Your Oral Health

Dry mouth is an oral condition that is often overlooked, despite the fact it can be extremely uncomfortable and cause a whole host of oral issues.

At Abbey Road Dental in St John’s Wood, we understand that there are lots of factors that affect your oral health, not just the way the teeth are cared for, or indeed lifestyle. Many different things can affect oral health including medications, illness, age, pregnancy and more.

We always have a broad approach to diagnostics to ensure that we consider each and every potential factor in any pain or issue a person is having with their oral health. Dry mouth is often a very simple issue that causes many complex problems and it can be caused by many different things. By understanding why dry mouth is present we can treat you accordingly and stop it doing any additional damage. We can also help you feel as comfortable as possible whilst you are affected by the problem.

What Is Dry Mouth?

Dry mouth means that you don’t have the amount of saliva in your mouth needed to keep your mouth lubricated as it is supposed to be. Everybody experiences dry mouth differently, but common symptoms can include:

  • A dry mouth or throat
  • A mouth or throat that feels sticky, as though the saliva is thick
  • Issues speaking
  • Issues swallowing
  • Issues speaking
  • A tongue that goes completely dry
  • Painful sore and cracked lips
  • Tooth decay that occurs more frequently
  • Unpleasant breath
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Issues with aggravated gums

Why Dry Mouth Happens

Dry mouth can happen for a wide variety of issues including; medication, medical issues, medical treatments and other problems like anxiety or stress. It happens because the salivary glands stop working properly. Here are some of the most common drug types and conditions that cause dry mouth:

  • Antihistamines
  • Anxiety
  • Pain
  • Epilepsy
  • Nausea
  • Asthma
  • Obesity
  • Acne
  • Hypertension
  • Colds

Certain medical conditions are known to cause dry mouth. Sjogren’s syndrome, for example, is a condition that causes dry eyes and dry mouth. It also causes issues with major organs and is a serious autoimmune condition that doesn’t have a cure. Certain cancer treatments are also known to cause dry mouth. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy cause dry mouth and can exacerbate what is already a period of time with lots of health challenges occurring.

Diagnosing The Cause Of Dry Mouth

Your doctor can diagnose the cause of dry mouth, and your dentist may be able to do that too. We always ask if there has been any chance in medication or health status when you visit us for a checkup because we know which medications and health conditions can cause problems with the mouth. Understanding why you are getting dry mouth is the first step to properly treating it. It may be that a change in medication or in your medication dosage is needed. In some instances it might just be a case of managing the effects of dry mouth because you are unable to stop it happening at present. Your Abbey Road dentist and hygienist can help with suggestions for managing the effects of dry mouth. We can also ensure your teeth and gums are properly monitored for adverse effects of dry mouth like tooth decay.

Dry Mouth Complications

Dry mouth can be very uncomfortable and cause issues with speaking, eating and functioning. Dry mouth can also adversely affect your oral health by drying out the soft tissues and making them more likely to be compromised by infection. Without saliva the mouth is not being cleansed in the way it should be, and the balance of the mouth is affected. Nasty bacteria and food debris isn’t being washed away as it should be and the environment within the mouth can become quite nasty and tooth decay and other issues can be more common.

How To Help Prevent/ Relieve Dry Mouth

There are lots of ways to prevent dry mouth, relieve it or stop it getting worse. Here are some suggestions:

  • Using a special mouthwash or gel to help relieve dry mouth
  • Sipping water and sugar-free drinks regularly
  • Avoid any drinks with caffeine
  • Sucking on sugar-free sweets or jellies to stimulate saliva flow
  • Avoiding smoking or drinking
  • Avoiding spicy, acidic, sugary or salty food

In addition, your GP or dentist might be able to prescribe you a supportive medicine to help stimulate more saliva.

If dry mouth happens all or most of the time however, it can be very uncomfortable – and may have serious consequences for your oral health. Drying irritates the soft tissues in the mouth, which can make them inflamed and more susceptible to infection. Without the cleansing effects of saliva, tooth decay and other oral health issues become much more common. It is important that you take good care of your teeth and gums; brushing twice a day, and flossing or using an inter-dental cleaner once a day to remove plaque and food debris from between the teeth where your toothbrush cannot reach.

Please Speak To Abbey Road Dental About Dry Mouth

If you are struggling with dry mouth we can help suggest reasons why it is happening. We can also suggest many ways to help alleviate the problem and help you feel more comfortable. Most importantly we can keep a close eye on your oral health to ensure that your dry mouth does not cause you further issues with your teeth and gums. In the instance that we can’t diagnose the cause of your dry mouth we recommend you speak to your GP.

To book an appointment with your NW8 dentist or hygienist, please call our clinic on 02076241603. We are here to support your oral health in as many ways as we can, so that you can have a functional, comfortable smile everyday.

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