A reduction of saliva flow resulting in a dry mouth is a common issue, especially among older people.
Dry mouth is not only uncomfortable, it can cause tooth damage. Saliva is necessary to keep the mouth lubricated, wash the food from teeth, and neutralize the acids that can cause plaque. Extensive tooth decay can develop in the absence of saliva for dental patients with chronic dry mouth.
Symptoms of dry mouth include:
- Dry, red or grooved tongue
- Persistent sore throat or hoarseness
- Sticky feeling in the mouth
- Saliva that seems thick and stringy
- Bad breath
- Difficulty chewing, speaking and swallowing
- Changes in taste
- Difficulty wearing dentures (Mayo Clinic)
Contributing factors include medications and treatments, reduction in the body’s ability to metabolize medication, chronic health problems and poor nutrition.
For example, chemotherapy medication can lower saliva production and radiation treatments to the head and neck can damage salivary glands, decreasing saliva production.
Other medical conditions include diabetes, stroke, or yeast infection in the mouth.
Decongestants, blood pressure medications, antidepressants, and painkillers (all used extensively in Addison) are some of the medications that can lead to dry mouth.
It is common for allergy-prone Addison dental patients to complain of dry mouth when they start taking antihistamines during the hay fever season.
The following can also contribute to dry mouth:
- Snoring or breathing through the mouth
- Drinking alcohol
- Tobacco use (cigarettes, e-cigarettes, chewing tobacco)
- Recreational drugs
If you suffer from dry mouth, it’s important to pay special attention to your dental health. The first step is to talk to a professional. Call The Addison Dentist to schedule an appointment with Dr. Jonathan Nobles.
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