Dentist San Fernando Valley

What You Should Know about Dry Mouth

What You Should Know about Dry MouthDry mouth, known clinically as xerostomia, is defined by a lack of saliva in the mouth. Because saliva keeps the mouth wet and contains natural antimicrobial substances, it helps control oral bacteria. A mouth that is too dry will foster tooth decay and gum disease. For this reason, patients with dry mouth should work with our dentist to find a solution to the condition before it leads to serious problems later.

Causes of Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is more common among older patients, but a variety of conditions and medications can reduce salivary flow in patients of all ages. Diabetes and AIDS are known to reduce the flow of saliva, and chemotherapy and radiation used to treat cancer can thicken the saliva or damage the glands that make saliva. Smoking and drugs used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, allergies, anxiety and high blood pressure may also cause xerostomia.

Sufficient and Insufficient Saliva

Saliva carries minerals essential for repair of teeth, lubricates the mouth during meals, pre-digests food and helps wash away plaque. When too little saliva is present, patients may have trouble chewing, speaking and swallowing. Halitosis can also develop as oral bacteria grow out of control. Over time, the teeth and gums may deteriorate.

The first step to resolving xerostomia is finding the cause behind it. If possible, lifestyle and medication changes should be made to return salivary flow to normal. Sugar-free candies and gum can help boost production of saliva. At a consultation with our dentist in San Fernando Valley, patients can learn more about dry mouth and its treatments.

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