Dry Mouth: What You Need to Know

Having a dry mouth can be both an inconvenience and a danger to your oral health. And, at some point, everyone is going to deal with this -- whether it is upon waking in the morning, working out too hard, or even when nervous before a presentation. This kind of dry mouth is one that goes away with a glass or two or water. 

Persistent dry mouth, however, is what concerns dentists - and should concern you, too. Here’s everything you need to know. 

Signs of a Dry Mouth

Dry mouth can be different for everyone, whether it is the result of minor dehydration or something bigger. The longer your mouth is dry, the greater and more noticeable the symptoms will be.

Common signs of a dry mouth are: 

  • Sore throat
  • Chapped or cracked lips
  • Dry feeling in the mouth
  • Persistent thirst
  • Cracks in the corner of the mouth
  • Bad breath

Causes of Dry Mouth

For those who experience persistent dry mouth, more formally referred to as xerostomia, there are different explanations as to why this happens. Dehydration, smoking, and wearing dentures can all lead to a dry mouth. However, it is most commonly caused due to medical issues or concerns. Let’s take a look.

Medications for all sorts of conditions include dry mouth as a side effect. Conditions from allergies to high blood pressure to depression all have prescription drugs that treat them, but also commonly cause dry mouth. Chemotherapy and radiation as used to battle cancer can also leave the patient with a dry mouth. 

Aside from medication, certain medical conditions have dry mouth as a symptom. Believe it or not, rheumatoid arthritis, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, and more can have the patient presenting with an array of symptoms, including dry mouth. 

This shows you just how much your oral health can be impacted by what is going on in the rest of your body. 

Can Dry Mouth Be Dangerous? 

Having a dry mouth occasionally is not that big of a deal. When it is persistent, it can lead to issues with your oral health - and should always be addressed with your dentist. 

Without saliva to properly keep your mouth moist, your mouth will see an increase of bacteria and plaque built up around your teeth. As it remains, it can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. All of these things need treatment from a dentist - or you may risk losing your teeth entirely. 

By being proactive with concerns about your dry mouth, you can prevent any damage from occurring. 

What You Can Do About It

Dry mouth happens when you do not produce enough saliva. Getting to the root cause of why is something your dentist can help with. During your visit, a thorough look at the medications you currently take and the history of your medical conditions will be reviewed to determine whether there is an obvious cause. And, if you are taking a medication known to cause dry mouth, your dentist may suggest you talk to your medical doctor about alternative medications. 

Really, though, it doesn’t matter why your mouth is dry because there are steps you can take that will help you to find some relief. Your dentist may suggest one or more of the following: 

  • Make sure you are drinking enough water throughout your day. 
  • Chew sugar free gum. 
  • Use an alcohol-free mouthwash. 
  • Try breathing through your nose, rather than your mouth. 
  • Let go of unhealthy habits such as smoking. 

Keep up on your oral hygiene, too. That is very important. And, if your dentist feels it necessary, he or she may even prescribe a mouthwash designed for dry mouth. 

Together, you will find what works for you. 

Let the Professionals Address Your Dry Mouth Concerns

If you feel you have signs of a dry mouth and would like to learn more about it, the dental team at SmileMakers Comprehensive Dentistry is here to help. Serving the Montgomery community, we offer personalized treatment for all our patients. 

Call our office at 334-277-5498. Or, request an appointment online.