Dry Mouth

What Is It And How Does It Affect Oral Health?

Kent Smile Studio Dental SurgeryIf you are currently suffering from dry mouth, or you have had it before, you know all too well how uncomfortable it can be. It makes it hard to talk, to express yourself, eat and generally function day to day.

At Kent Smile Studio we know all too well how difficult dry mouth can be to manage, and how it can impact not only your quality of life, but your oral health too.

Dry mouth can be caused by a number of things, but most importantly it needs to be diagnosed and managed, particularly when it comes to oral health, to avoid it causing any lasting harm. We also want to help you feel as comfortable as possible, and there are suggestions we can make to help with dry mouth once we know why you have it.

So, What Exactly Is Dry Mouth?

As it sounds, dry mouth means you are lacking in saliva in your mouth making your mouth feel dry. Tissues in the mouth may feel hard or stick to other parts, especially in the morning when you may not have been able to add any lubrication to your mouth at all. Dry mouth means that the natural saliva your mouth should have, is missing and it can cause you to have:

  • Swallowing problems
  • Dry mouth and throat
  • Dry lips
  • Speaking problems
  • Eating problems
  • Thick or stringy saliva
  • A cracked tongue
  • Tooth decay
  • Bad breath
  • Mouth sores
  • Irritated gums

A person may experience additional symptoms because of their dry mouth, or because of the cause of their dry mouth.

What Causes Dry Mouth?

Dry mouth can happen for a wide variety of problems but at the root it stops the saliva glands from producing saliva as they should. Anxiety and depression are common causes of dry mouth; some medicines and drug types can also cause dry mouth and medical conditions and treatments may also cause it. Sometimes the issue can be temporary or chronic. Here are some of the most common conditions treated with drugs that cause dry mouth:

  • Anxiety
  • Allergies
  • Pain
  • Epilepsy
  • Nausea
  • Asthma
  • Acne
  • Cold & Flu

Medical conditions like Sjogren’s syndrome, which is an autoimmune condition, causes the eyes and mouth to feel dry. Cancer treatment like radiation can cause dry mouth and other oral health issues. Sometimes a person might come to their local Maidstone dentist because of dry mouth which they have but don’t really know why. Sometimes, a person might come knowing that they have dry mouth and also why, but are looking for help with managing the condition.

Getting A Diagnosis For Dry Mouth

Both your dentist or your doctor can diagnose dry mouth, but often you are likely to need to speak to your doctor about dry mouth first. It may be that the medical issue can be treated and so the dry mouth will be treated as a result, or it might be a medication causing the dry mouth can be changed. The important thing is to get the dry mouth diagnosed and you can speak to your dentist about it if you want to as they will refer you to the doctor if they feel it’s necessary.

Your hygienist can also offer helpful suggestions as to the cause of dry mouth, as well as helping you manage the condition with helpful product suggestions such as saliva replacement gels and mouthwashes.

The Complications Of Dry Mouth

Dry mouth can be really painful and uncomfortable, causing a person’s quality of life to be affected. Dry mouth can also cause issues with oral health further than function because it can dry out the soft tissues, causing them to fissure and be open to infections. There is also no natural cleansing action from the saliva which means that the mouth is essentially, stale. Tooth decay and gum disease are also more likely with dry mouth.

In combination with other medication/medical condition side effects, dry mouth can be an uncomfortable thing to deal with when you already have enough on you plate. But with the right support and treatment, you can help prevent complications so that dry mouth doesn’t cause you even more problems at a time when you don’t need more to manage.

Relieving Dry Mouth

First and foremost if you have dry mouth regularly and you don’t know why, do seek a diagnosis which can help with the most appropriate treatment solutions. In addition, consider trying:

  • Cutting out spicy foods
  • Cutting out smoking
  • Stopping drinking
  • Quitting caffeine
  • Using special products to help with saliva production
  • Sipping water or sucking ice cubes regularly
  • Avoiding salty foods
  • Humidifying your environment
  • Asking your doctor to prescribe saliva production tablets

Most importantly, do seek support from your Kent Smile Studio dentist if you have dry mouth. It can have nasty consequences for your oral health and the more support you get with the condition, the less likely you are to see your dental health deteriorate because of the condition. A really good daily oral health regime can form an important part of your dry mouth management, including flossing, using interdental brushes and good tooth brushing techniques. We can recommend special products to use to help you clean your mouth as easily as possible, paying particular attention to any areas that could be vulnerable to the effects of dry mouth.

Please Get In Touch With Kent Smile Studio About Dry Mouth

Your dentist and hygienist can help you with a tailored treatment plan for your oral health if you are suffering with dry mouth. You may need more checkups, you might also benefit from suggestions to keep your mouth more moist and comfortable. We can help you keep your smile healthy alongside this difficult health condition and complication. Speak to your GP first for a diagnosis, then get in touch with us on 01622754662 to help with support and advice with the condition. We are here to help you have a beautiful smile that is as healthy and comfortable as possible, even when challenges arise.