There are times when your mouth feels uncomfortably dry. This happens when your mouth fails to produce enough saliva in your mouth. In dentistry, this condition is called xerostomia.
What xerostomia does to your oral health
At first glance, having a dry mouth doesn’t seem to give you problems. The issue, however, is when you experience prolonged periods with minimal saliva content in your mouth. As we all know, saliva plays a role in maintaining the acid and bacteria levels in the mouth. Without an adequate amount of it, bacteria would begin to thrive and cause dental problems. Put simply, xerostomia may pave the way for different cases of tooth decay, gum disease, and mouth infections like thrush.
What causes xerostomia
Different factors may contribute to your mouth’s lack of saliva. Nerve damage from a surgery or injury involving the head and the neck may cause this condition. Normally, xerostomia happens as a side effect of medications for conditions, such as obesity, epilepsy, asthma, nausea, allergies, depression, and anxiety; diseases such as HIV/AIDS, cystic fibrosis, arthritis, anaemia, and diabetes; and medical treatments like chemotherapy.
Do note that lifestyle is also a likely factor, especially when you smoke.
What you can do
Dentists advise that you maintain good dental hygiene practices to keep xerostomia in check. When you have this condition, you might want to change your toothbrush to one that has soft bristles. Brush twice a day using fluoridated toothpaste and floss daily. If you haven’t yet, schedule a follow up appointment with your dentist to check on your condition.
Moreover, you need to monitor your diet to ensure that you don’t aggravate the problem. Drink plenty of fluids, but avoid any form of alcohol (this includes mouthwash brands with alcohol). Regulate your consumption of spicy and salty foods, too. When you feel a strange dryness in your mouth, you can chew sugar-free gum with Xylitol to stimulate the flow of saliva without promoting cavity growth.
Although xerostomia may seem harmless, it may affect your oral health negatively. Be aware of the condition so you may address it properly.