The Dangers of Chronic Dry Mouth
By Patrick Casey on October 10, 2013
Everyone has had dry mouth at one time or another, and usually it’s nothing that a little hydration can’t fix. But chronic and severe dry mouth, a condition also known as xerostomia or hyposalivation, can have long lasting effects. At our Montreal cosmetic dentistry office, Dr. Patrick Casey uses the latest techniques to determine the cause of dry mouth and develop a course of treatment. But to understand why timely treatment of dry mouth is so important, one must understand the serious consequences of dry mouth when left untreated.
The Dangers of Dry Mouth
Unchecked dry mouth can lead to many problems:
- Decrease in Quality of Life - Dry mouth can decrease the ability to taste food, robbing patients of the daily enjoyment of eating. Chronic dry mouth can also make it difficult and even painful to chew and swallow food normally.
- Increases Risk of Halitosis - A dry mouth can quickly become a breeding ground for bacteria. Even at its most mild, the condition can lead to bad breath, which can in turn impede a patient’s self-confidence and social life.
- Increases Risk of Mouth Infections - A dry mouth can cause sores, cracks, and rawness on the tongue and within the mouth. As bacteria develop in the dry environment, these lesions can leave you susceptible to gingivitis, advanced gum disease, and other mouth infections.
- Increases Risk of Tooth Decay - In addition to increasing the risk for mouth infections, a dry mouth can also increase the risk for other consequences of bacteria growth - namely tooth decay. Over time, dry mouth can lead to the development of cavities and, in severe cases, tooth loss necessitating restorative work such as dentures or dental implants.
- Can Make Wearing Dentures or Dental Bridges Uncomfortable - Gum soreness and damage caused by dry mouth can make wearing prosthetics like dentures uncomfortable at best, impossible at worst.
- Can Signal Serious Underlying Problems - Dry mouth can be caused by a number of conditions, ranging from nerve damage to medication side effects. In some cases, however, mouth dryness can be a sign of something serious; dry mouth is a noted symptom of such conditions as Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, anemia, hypertension, and rheumatoid arthritis. If you are suffering from chronic and persistent dry mouth, consult your doctor to rule out the presence of underlying causes before going ahead with any treatment plan.
Managing Dry Mouth
Chronic mouth dryness can be annoying, frustrating, and even painful. But with the help of your dentist, it is a condition that can be managed. To counteract the damaging effects of dry mouth, you may brush your teeth and rinse with a non-drying, non-alcoholic, fluoride mouthwash after each meal. Your dentist may also recommend that you avoid foods and drink with drying and diuretic properties like alcohol or caffeine, and drink more water to stay hydrated. In extreme cases, medication can ease the symptoms of dry mouth.
Contact Your Cosmetic Dentistry Specialist Today
You don’t have to keep living with dry mouth. Contact our Montreal cosmetic dentistry practice to schedule a consultation and learn more about combating dry mouth through modern dentistry techniques.
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“I felt more like I was talking to a friend than I was to a dentist.” Nancy Lanzolla, Former Patient