Dry mouth is a condition where you do not produce enough saliva to keep your mouth moist. This may seem like a minor inconvenience. However, a dry mouth can create many dental issues. Your mouth needs to stay moist to be healthy. If you suffer from dry mouth, you are more likely to develop cavities. Other symptoms include sores inside your mouth or dry, cracked lips. Yet, other side effects can cause more severe damage.
Your mouth is home to many kinds of bacteria. One type of bacteria causes plaque buildup. When you brush and floss your teeth, you remove plaque from the surfaces of your mouth. If you don’t remove plaque properly, it will continue to build and destroy your enamel.
Saliva helps to neutralize the harmful effects of plaque. It contains minerals that plaque destroys. Unfortunately, plaque thrives in a dry environment. When you don’t produce enough saliva, the bacteria in your mouth will multiply. This can increase your risk of developing gum disease and tooth decay.
When you don’t have enough saliva, eating food can become difficult. Although your teeth are responsible for physically breaking down your food, saliva helps to break it down chemically. If you have a dry mouth, this process can feel nearly impossible. Additionally, it can become dangerous if you try to eat without enough saliva.
Over time, this can cause issues with poor nutrition. On top of helping you swallow, saliva contains chemicals that are necessary for digestion. Without it, you may not be able to get all of the proper nutrients from your food.
How to Treat Dry Mouth
There are several ways to treat dry mouth. However, it depends on the cause of your condition.
If you talk to your dentist, they can give you several recommendations for mouthwash. There are many types of specialized mouthwash that can alleviate your dry mouth symptoms. Therefore, this mouthwash will help stimulate saliva production and coat your mouth.
Mouthwash is also a great addition to your oral hygiene routine. After you brush and floss, swish the mouthwash around your mouth for 30 seconds to a minute. Mouthwash can help eliminate plaque buildup. Additionally, it will remove any leftover food particles.
Drink More Water
Drinking water regularly can help you produce more saliva. Since dry mouth makes you feel dehydrated, you may already want to drink more water. This is beneficial for you because it will provide moisture to your teeth and soft tissues.
To help your dry mouth symptoms, try sipping water throughout the day. Drinking a lot of water in one sitting can be tempting to get rid of the dry mouth feeling. However, it will be better for you to drink it slowly over the course of the day.
If your medication is causing your dry mouth, talk to your doctor to see if there is an alternative. However, many over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants can make your symptoms worse.