Hallsville oral health: Understanding dry mouth (xerostomia)
Xerostomia is the medical term for dry mouth, a condition that plagues many people in Hallsville, Longview, and around the world. In addition to causing discomfort, it can pose a risk to your oral health. Fortunately, dry mouth is usually treatable, with an accurate diagnosis. The first step in ending the irritation and protecting your oral health is scheduling a consultation with Dr. Clint Bruyere.
Dry mouth is not actually a disease. It is classified as a symptom, which can be caused by several underlying problems. Some of the most common include:
- Over-the-counter or prescription medications, including anti-diarrheals, mood stabilizers, and decongestants
- Radiation, Chemotherapy drugs, and other cancer treatments
- Nerve damage from past surgeries or injuries
- Smoking or using other tobacco products
A healthy mouth produces between two and four pints of saliva every day. It keeps your teeth and soft tissues hydrated, and it rinses away bacteria and food particles. Saliva also contains components that rejuvenate tooth enamel and begin the digestive process. Insufficient saliva flow can lead to cavities, gum disease, inflammation, bad breath, and eating difficulties.
Depending on the cause, dry mouth may be curable or controllable. Simple changes in habits, such as quitting tobacco, can ease or end the problem for many people. If the condition is resulting from medication, the simplest solution is changing formulas. For over-the-counter medicines, you may be able to find an alternate brand. If it is a prescription, Dr. Bruyere will recommend speaking with your MD about other options.
In some cases, such as disease, nerve damage, or essential medications, we may not be able to eliminate the root cause of the problem. There are several ways to bring it under control. Dr. Bruyere will help you understand the condition and how you can combat it, such as:
- Sugar free gum and candy stimulate saliva flow
- Nose breathing, sipping water, and humidifying the air help prevent tissue dehydration
- Fluoride products help protect your teeth from cavities
- Avoid sugars and acids, which exacerbate cavities
- Use fluoride products to protect your teeth
- If other options prove insufficient, the doctor may recommend a salivary stimulant medication, or a protective coating on your teeth
Are you troubled by dry mouth? Call 903.708.6116 and schedule an appointment with Dr. Bruyere to discuss your best options.