Although we don’t pay much attention to the use of our saliva, it is actually a very vital substance for our everyday living. We use saliva to eat more easily, to taste our food, to disinfect our mouths, and to digest food. Saliva also helps to protect our oral tissues against ulcers, sores and other effects of friction. Saliva neutralizes acids and helps to provide antibodies against bacterial threat. However, if we don’t produce enough saliva, we are left to experience an uncomfortable condition that a dentist would diagnose as Xerostomia, or dry mouth. Dry mouth increases the risk of getting gingivitis, tooth day and certain mouth infections.
Everyone experiences dry mouth at some point in their lives. People experience dry mouth when they are nervous, dehydrated, depressed or simply stressed out. Although very common, it can be very uncomfortable and irritating for those who experience it regularly. Frequent dry mouth not only makes your mouth feel uncomfortably dry, it can also have other adverse effects. Xerostomia can cause problems with eating and swallowing, dry lips, problems tasting food, and gradual tooth decay or bacteria buildup.
Xerostomia affects about 10% of all people and can be seen in more women than men. Lack of saliva production also affects the elderly. People frequently experience dry mouth as a side effect to certain medications. A dentist can help determine whether or not your medications are causing this. It can also be a side effect from illnesses such as high blood pressure, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, or HIV/AIDS. Also, people can also develop dry mouth from certain treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Eating disorders, such as bulimia and anorexia, are other risk factors for dry mouth. It can also occur in women during pregnancy or while breastfeeding due to dehydration or hormonal changes. Other causes of dry mouth include sleep apnea, hormonal imbalance, salivary gland diseases, rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.
If you feel you are constantly experiencing dry mouth, you should contact your dentist for an evaluation. You may have dry mouth if you have a sticky, dry feeling in the mouth, are frequently thirsty or have a dry feeling the throat. You may also experience sores in the mouth, bad breath or a dry, red, raw tongue.
There are many ways on how you can treat dry mouth. Some at-home treatments include drinking more water and maintaining proper oral care. You can choose a mouthwash that doesn’t contain alcohol, which only further dries out the mouth. Chewing gum can also help produce saliva. However, it is best to chew sugar free gum to reduce the development of cavities.
If you feel that the at home treatments are not enough, you should schedule an appointment with a?dentist in Ashburn in order to explore treatment options that are right for you. Your dentist will inspect the main salivary glands to check for blockages that may be the cause of limited salivary flow. Be sure to see a dentist regularly as well to ensure the best possible care for your oral health.
At Rios Dentistry in Ashburn, Dr. Rick Rios and Dr. Mina Ranzurmal are committed to help you obtain total health and wellness by providing thorough examinations and treatment plans designed to improve and maintain your oral health. We deliver a positive dental experience that will keep you coming back for any of your dental needs.
With advanced dental technology, we are able to cater to your comfort and convenience while providing you with high quality dental care. We accept patients of all ages and we offer many dental solutions. Our offered services include:
Cleanings and Exams
For your convenience, we have two dental office locations in Sterling and Ashburn. ?Call us today for an appointment!