If you wake up with a dry mouth, you may want to learn about xerostomia and its impact on your oral health.
The Role Saliva Plays In Keeping You Healthy
Saliva, also known as spit, is a clear liquid that is produced by glands located in your mouth. It is composed of 98% water, with proteins, enzymes, electrolytes, minerals, antibacterial elements, and mucus making up the rest. Chewing encourages saliva production, as does chewing gum, sucking on hard candy, or sucking on a cough drop.
Saliva is extremely important to the human body. It helps digestion by making food easier to swallow and ingest, as well as breaking down certain molecules with an enzyme called amylase. It also helps to fight tooth decay by washing away food debris that could feed bacteria that causes decay.
Saliva plays an important role in keeping our teeth healthy by helping to repair the enamel, the protective outer layer of the teeth. It contains minerals such as calcium, fluoride, and phosphorus which are essential for repairing the enamel. Furthermore, saliva helps to control the amount of fungi and bacteria in the mouth, protecting against infections such as thrush, which can cause a sore throat-like sensation.
Dry Mouth, Or Xerostomia: A Medical Condition
Xerostomia, also known as dry mouth, is an ailment that is as literal as it sounds. When the salivary glands in your mouth fail to produce enough saliva to keep your mouth moist, you have xerostomia. This can be an uncomfortable experience, which may also cause dry nasal passages, sore throat, cracked lips, dry tongue, mouth sores, difficulty in tasting, chewing, and swallowing, and bad breath. Drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated can help to prevent xerostomia. Ask your healthcare provider about a special oral rinse or spray if the condition persists.
Common Causes Of Xerostomia
- Sleeping with your mouth open can cause dry mouth, as does generally breathing with your mouth open.
- Tobacco, alcohol, and recreational drug use can impact your saliva production.
- Dehydration. Conditions that can cause dehydration, such as excessive sweating, fever, diarrhea, or vomiting can also result in xerostomia.
- Certain medications, such as relaxants and sedatives. These medications can cause xerostomia as a side effect.
- Chemotherapy treatments can potentially cause dry mouth in cancer patients.
- Nerve damage to the head or neck. This includes injury or surgery affecting the area.
- Certain diseases and infections can cause dry mouth. Some examples include anemia, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, HIV/AIDS, or Parkinson’s disease.
- Elderly people can experience dry mouth with aging. This can be a side effect of other existing health conditions, certain medications, not getting enough nutrients, or a combination of the above.
The Impact Of Dry Mouth On Oral And Dental Health
Dry mouth can have a direct effect on your dental health. Without enough saliva to wash away food particles and plaque from your teeth, you’d be more vulnerable to cavities. The acids in your mouth can also wear away your tooth enamel if you don’t have enough saliva to rinse them away. With food and drink stuck on the surface of your teeth, and weaker enamel, your teeth are more likely to become discolored and stained.
Saliva plays an important role in defending your mouth against bacteria and infection, which is especially helpful when considering gum disease, a bacterial infection of the gums. However, dry mouth can cause plaque and tartar to build up. Gum disease increases your chances of getting a cavity, and if it is left untreated, the cavity can spread to the roots of the teeth. If tooth decay reaches the underlying structure of the teeth, it could lead to tooth loss.
You’re In Good Hands With Vibrant Square Dental
At Vibrant Square Dental, we’re dedicated to ensuring that our patients receive excellent care in a family-focused environment. We strive to staff individuals who are experts in their field and know how to deliver a comfortable and welcoming experience. General and family dentistry is the core of our practice, and we want to introduce you to the services we offer at our clinic in Vaughan, Ontario.
An essential part of any oral health care plan is visiting your dentist twice a year. These visits will always include a dental exam, professional cleaning, and guidance about how we can help improve your oral health. We’re always accepting new patients if you’re looking for a new dental provider. We’re dedicated to building lasting relationships with our patients at our office. As your family changes and grows, we’ll be here to meet your dental needs. For an appointment, call us today at 905-553-3004.