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What Causes Dry Mouth? Symptoms and Treatment

A dry mouth is not just a nuisance.  Yes, it makes it more difficult to talk and even chew your food.  It can even cause bad breath.   

You may wake up with your mouth glued shut or your lips stuck to your teeth. You may have dry lips/throat, mouth sores, or perhaps a burning sensation on your cheeks or tongue. Dry mouth can even be a sign of untreated diabetes and uncontrolled high blood pressure.   All of these are signs that you likely have a dry mouth.  Dentally speaking, dry mouth is mostly an issue because it causes (and even speeds up) tooth decay!  

Every 30 seconds, your mouth undergoes an acid attack. The mouth needs saliva to help remineralize the teeth. Roughly 99% of medications have dry mouth as a side effect. Since you can’t necessarily stop taking your medications because of these side effects finding effective treatment options is critical.  

Here at Dr. King’s Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, we bring dry mouth issues to the patient’s attention every day. Some people may not even be aware that they suffer from dry mouth, while others have just learned to “live with it”. Many do not even understand that this issue NEEDS to be treated in order to prevent tooth decay.  

Understanding WHEN you have a dry mouth will help your dental health professional come up with solutions for how to best treat it.  Products with xylitol helps to both stimulate the production of saliva as well as form a barrier on the tooth that keeps the cavity-forming bacteria from sticking to the tooth (thus causing tooth decay.) There are numerous treatment options that include lozenges, rinses, gums, gels, and even some options that can be prescribed by your doctor or dentist. Patients experiencing dry mouth should avoid caffeine, alcohol, alcohol-containing mouth rinses, and smoking as these items increase the severity of his/her dry mouth symptoms. You are at a very high risk of cavities caused by dry mouth if you have undergone head and neck radiation because your salivary gland may have been permanently damaged. Without some sort of salivary substitute, tooth decay is inevitable.  

By first identifying the underlying cause of your dry mouth, it makes it easier to come up with the best treatment options. It is important to understand that a treatment option that is effective for one person is not necessarily effective for another person. It may take some experimenting with different products to figure out which one is best for you! Since the dry mouth is arguably the biggest cause of sudden tooth decay, dismissing the problem is not recommended.  

Dr. King and his staff find it rewarding to help educate and bring relief to our many patients that suffer from dry mouth. The team at Dr. King's Family & Cosmetic Dentistry is well educated in ways to identify and treat your dry mouth.  We have a wide variety of products available in our office to help manage your dry mouth. Please contact our office so that we can discuss which product(s) best suits your needs.