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Dry Mouth and Dental Damage: How to Protect Your Oral Health

Dry Mouth and Dental Damage: How to Protect Your Oral Health

Dry Mouth and Dental Damage: How to Protect Your Oral Health

Dry mouth, also called xerostomia, is an oral health issue that results in inadequate saliva production. Breathing dry air, dehydration, smoking, genetics, or damaged or infected salivary glands may cause dry mouth. Dry mouth is more than an uncomfortable nuisance. It can actually lead to severe dental damage. General dentistry treatments can help protect your oral health, preventing dental damage. To discuss your treatment options for dry mouth and dental damage, schedule a consultation with Chicago, IL dentist Craig S. Kohler.

Dry Mouth and Dental Damage

Dry mouth is dangerous for oral health. This is because saliva plays an important role in neutralizing acids, restoring minerals to the teeth, and removing food debris. When dry mouth occurs for prolonged periods of time, dental damage and other oral health issues can arise, like oral sores, infections, bad breath, and oral discomfort. If left untreated, dry mouth can lead to the following dental damage:

  • Enamel erosion: Dry mouth leaves food remnants and acids on the teeth, increasing the risk of enamel erosion.
  • Tooth decay: Dry mouth also increases the risk of tooth decay. When enamel erosion is left unchecked, it allows bacteria and acids to reach the inner layers of the teeth, leading to tooth decay.
  • Gum disease: Dry mouth allows more bacteria and plaque to buildup on the teeth, also increasing the risk of gum disease. Gum disease is a serious oral health issue that can lead to tooth decay and tooth loss.
  • Tooth loss: Dry mouth increases the risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and enamel erosion, all of which can lead to tooth loss if left untreated.

Tips to Alleviate Dry Mouth and Protect Oral Health

Dry mouth doesn’t have to cause dental damage. There are many steps you can take to protect your smile and alleviate dry mouth. Patients that suffer from dry mouth can minimize dry mouth symptoms and protect oral health by practicing these tips:

  • Practice good oral hygiene habits: Practicing good oral hygiene habits can help prevent gum disease, tooth erosion, and tooth decay. Those who suffer from dry mouth should brush after every meal if possible, but always brush at least twice a day and floss at least once a day.
  • Use an alcohol-free mouthwash: Some types of mouthwash are alcohol-based and can exacerbate the symptoms of dry mouth. Using an alcohol-free mouthwash can avoid this problem.
  • Use an over-the-counter saliva substitute: Over-the-counter saliva substitutes can relieve the symptoms of dry mouth.
  • Stay hydrated: Dry mouth is sometimes caused by dehydration. Drinking plenty of water can help keep the body hydrated, as well as wash away food remnants and neutralize acids within the mouth.
  • Use a humidifier: Using a humidifier, a device that adds moisture to the air, can help reduce the symptoms of dry mouth, especially those caused by breathing dry air.

Schedule a Consultation

For answers to your questions about dry mouth and dental damage, or to find out which treatment is right for you, we invite you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Kohler.