What Are the Real Dangers of Dry Mouth?
At our general dentistry practice in Knoxville, dry mouth treatment is a real possibility for you and your loved ones. If you suffer from dry mouth, you know that this condition has many side effects and can disturb your daily life. What you may not know are the serious dangers associated with dry mouth and how you should best treat it.
At our practice in Knoxville, cosmetic dentist Thomas G. Zarger, Jr, DDS, is trained in the treatment of dry mouth, its causes, and accompanying symptoms.
What’s Causing My Dry Mouth?
Your dry mouth may be caused by a variety of causes, including but not limited to:
- Aging - While aging itself does not cause dry mouth, aging may increase the likelihood that you are experiencing other causes of dry mouth.
- Medications - Several medications list dry mouth as a side effect. It is important to discuss this side effect with your prescribing doctor if you have concerns.
- Cancer treatment -Many life-saving cancer therapies, including chemotherapy and radiation, can damage or weaken salivary glands and lead to dry mouth.
- Tobacco use -The use of tobacco products, including cigars, cigarettes, and chewing tobacco, can cause dry mouth.
- Health conditions - While medications for health conditions can cause dry mouth, certain conditions cause dry mouth as well, including nerve damage, anxiety disorder, Alzheimer’s disease, and several others. If you have a health condition, your doctor can discuss its possible effects such as dry mouth.
Why Is It Important to Treat My Dry Mouth?
While dry mouth may not seem to be an extremely serious condition, its treatment is important for your overall health and comfort and in preventing further complications.
Dry mouth has painful and bothersome symptoms, including thirstiness, a dry or scratchy throat, tongue pain or soreness, overall mouth tingling or sensitivity, and bad breath. Most importantly, dry mouth can lead to several more serious conditions, including:
- Gum disease or gingivitis
- Tooth decay
- Mouth and lip infections
- Poor digestion
How to Treat My Dry Mouth and its Symptoms
While dry mouth can be an annoying and painful condition, there are many steps you can take to treat it.
If your dry mouth is caused by medications, you should speak to your prescribing doctor about adjusting your dosage if possible to reduce your dry mouth. If you use tobacco products, quitting their use can immediately reduce your dry mouth symptoms.
For those causes which may not be helped, including cancer medications and health conditions, there are many ways to help your mouth salivate more, including:
- Drinking water frequently
- Chewing gum or sucking on foods that help you salivate
- Keeping the rooms in your house humidified with a humidifier or vaporizer
- Taking a medication that will help you salivate
To make sure that you do not acquire other symptoms or further damage caused by dry mouth, you should use toothpaste with fluoride or other ingredients that protect enamel from damage and decay and maintain a strict dental hygiene regimen to help remove food particles that would have otherwise been broken down by saliva. It is also important to maintain regular dental visits to ensure that any cavities or problems are caught early on.
We also offer at our offices in Knoxville dental crowns, porcelain veneers, cavity treatment and a variety of other cosmetic and general dentistry services. Please Contact us today with any questions and to set up a confidential, caring consultation with Dr. Zarger today.