Dry mouth is an irritating condition that can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Learning about the underlying conditions or reasons behind dry mouth can guide your dentists’ treatment. In today’s blog your Mansfield dentists Dr. Jones and Dr. Harris discuss dry mouth with an informative Q and A.
Q: What causes dry mouth?
A: According to the Mayo Clinic, hundreds of prescription or over-the-counter medications cause dry mouth. The most well known culprits are anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medications, decongestants, antihistamines, and pain medications. Certain health conditions such as Sjogdren’s syndrome or HIV/AIDS can cause dry mouth. Cancer treatment such as chemotherapy changes the makeup of saliva and the amount of saliva. Lastly, nerve damage to the head or neck resulting from surgery or a trauma can lower one’s saliva flow.
Q: What are some complications of dry mouth?
A: Saliva helps to mend our teeth after they are bathed in bacteria’s acid byproduct. After we eat, the bacteria in our mouth consume the sugars and starches left behind and then produce an acid. The acid eats though the enamel, the top layer of teeth, and creates cavities. This process is known as demineralization. Saliva, however, remineralizes tooth enamel which strengthens teeth and fights cavities. When our saliva flow is reduced, our teeth cannot always mend themselves following these acid attacks. With dry mouth, our teeth possess a greater chance of developing cavities. Dry mouth can also contribute to gum disease, mouth sores, dry cracked lips, fungal infection in the mouth, and a coated tongue.
Q: How will Dr. Jones and Dr. Harris treat dry mouth?
A: Dr. Jones and Dr. Harris will ask you about the history and frequency of your symptoms. They will also ask you about medications you may be taking including over-the-counter medications. Dr. Jones or Dr. Harris may then suggest that you adjust the dosage of current medications. Your dentist may also recommend products that moisturize the mouth such as artificial saliva, over-the-counter mouth rinses, or mouth moisturizers. In addition, Dr. Jones and Dr. Harris believe that if you take action to maintain good oral health, you may also help alleviate your dry mouth symptoms. For example, brushing with fluoride toothpaste twice a day and flossing once daily will help to remineralize your teeth. Dr. Jones or Dr. Harris may also recommend a prescription fluoride toothpaste. Maintain dental cleanings every six months so that Dr. Jones and Dr. Harris can study the health of your teeth, check for cavities, and remove plaque and tartar.
About your Mansfield Dentists
Mansfield Dental Associates rely upon their years of experience, training, and cutting-edge technology to offer patients expert dental care at each and every visit. They listen to each patient’s concerns and offer gentle, informative guidance about future treatments. If you would like to schedule a consultation, call (817) 473-6227. Dr. Jones and Dr. Harris proudly treat patients from Mansfield, South Arlington, Kennedale, Southeast Ft. Worth, Alvarado, Midlothian and neighboring areas.