In the past few years, I have noticed an increase in a condition that leads to rampant problems which can affect oral and dental health. This condition is called Xerostomia and is referred to as “Dry Mouth”. This condition routinely was associated with older people but now we are discovering it on a daily basis in our entire patient population, regardless of age.
So, why is dry mouth a concern? Changes in saliva can effect oral and dental health. Cavities, tooth loss and gum disease are more prevalent in a dry mouth. It can promote or worsen bad breath. It makes swallowing and speaking more difficult.
Why does this happen? Saliva contains antibacterial substances that protect the teeth. Saliva is a lubricant for the mouth preventing food from sticking to teeth and gums. It neutralizes gastric acid. The enzymes in saliva break down and start the digestive process of the food we eat.
Who is at risk? Most everyone but especially smokers, people on multiple medications, anyone with an autoimmune disease, people receiving head and neck cancer therapy, mouth breathers (may be due to allergies) and as you age the saliva is reduced in your mouth.
Have you ever experienced any of the following:
Difficulty swallowing or eating certain foods?
Need to drink water to help swallow dry foods?
Constant chapped or cracked lips (especially the corners of your mouth)?
Recurring cavities (especially at the gum line)?
Waking up at night due to thirst?
Are you taking more than two medications?
So, whats the answer? Although there is no cure for dry mouth, there are steps you can take to help manage the condition and keep your mouth healthy. Our staff has put a product sheet together to help you not only find a product to help your individual symptoms associated with this issue but also pictures so you can locate these products in the store. Call our Overland Park office today and we would love to help you manage this condition 913-383-2600.