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February 8th, 2020

Dry Mouth: Why You Don’t Want to Ignore It

Category: cincinnati dentist

dry mouth cincinnati dentist

Just as the name implies, dry mouth is when you don’t have enough saliva in the mouth. The medical name for dry mouth is xerostomia, but we’ll just refer to as dry mouth!

If and when the salivary glands don’t produce enough saliva in the mouth, you have dry mouth.

Certain situations can give you very short-term dry mouth; let’s say you are competing in an athletic event and you become dehydrated or you have to give a speech and you’re more anxious and nervous than normal. Both can be considered occasional occurrences of dry mouth, but what we’re talking about is when dry mouth becomes a more long-term or persistent issue.

Let’s take a closer look at what you should know about dry mouth.

How Does Dry Mouth Happen?

First and foremost, dry mouth can easily occur if you become dehydrated. That’s why we encourage you to drink water, since it is one of the best ways to make sure your body is getting the fluids it needs to work optimally.

To work against this form of dry mouth, which can still impact your oral health, try tracking your water intake each day to see if you are getting enough. Or, if that isn’t for you, keep some form of water bottle or water container near you as you work, and make it a challenge to drink as much as you can each day. Either way, you can become more self-aware about how much water you are taking in.

Other than situations where nerves or dehydration may be at play, several things can sometimes cause dry mouth:

  • Issues with your sinuses or changes in your nose such as a blocked nose. If you are routinely forced to breath only through your mouth, or mostly through your mouth, this can contribute to dry mouth.
  • If you are diabetic you may also have an issue with dry mouth.
  • Certain medications. This is one of the most common reasons that people get dry mouth. One of the reasons we ask you about your medications is that certain medications are known to result in changes in your mouth including dry mouth. Examples of some medications that can result in dry mouth include certain decongestants and insulin for diabetes. Every medication and brand is going to differ, so speak with your dentist to learn more.
  • Certain immune-related conditions. There are immune related conditions that can damage salivary glands and can impact “normal” saliva production.
  • Chewing tobacco or smoking cigarettes. Unfortunately, chewing tobacco or smoking cigarettes exposes the mouth to chemical ingredients that hinder saliva production. As a result, many times smokers can have severe dry mouth.

There are other causes of dry mouth, but these are some of the most common. If you suspect you have dry mouth, let us know, so we can proactively help you determine the cause and come up with solutions to treat it.

Others Signs You May Have Dry Mouth 

Think that your mouth has routinely felt extra dry? Or do you feel like you can never quite hydrate enough to get your mouth feeling back to normal? Another feeling you may experience if you suddenly have dry mouth is that your saliva may feel thick or even stringy. Besides having a mouth that simply feels extra dry, these are other symptoms people sometimes have with recurrent dry mouth. 

Why You Don’t Want to Ignore Dry Mouth 

As you know, saliva works to naturally cleanse the mouth. When there is a lack of saliva, bacteria has the ability to multiple even faster than it normally would. Even over a short period of time, that can contribute to bad breath and other symptoms.

Said another way, while dry mouth itself isn’t necessarily serious, it can result in quick dental decay in the mouth. In some severe situations, it can also impact your quality of life since it can make speaking or even eating more difficult.

A dry mouth can also exacerbate the side effects of diabetes, which will then lead to an increase in your glucose levels. That, in turn, can be very harmful for the body, so don’t ignore these symptoms if you feel you have dry mouth and you have diabetes.

Let us know if you suspect you have dry mouth, since treatment can help you avoid rapid dental decay. Whether it be different medications, a shift in what you are consuming, an artificial saliva substitute, or another treatment, we are here to help you treat your dry mouth.

best dentist in cincinnati hagen dds

We Want You To Achieve The Smile You’ve Always Wanted 

As you can see, many causes of dry mouth can be managed and there are effective treatment options to work against short- and long-term dry mouth. It is important to manage your dry mouth, and not ignore it, because not only can bad breath can become a problem—but your oral health, and overall health, can suffer if you don’t treat it!

At Hagen Dental, we want you to achieve the smile you’ve always wanted—and that smile is one you’ll have with ultimate confidence about your oral health, too! We hope to see you and your family for your next appointment. Give us a call today at (513) 251-5500 or visit our website for convenient online scheduling.

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