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How Dry Mouth Can Lead to Tooth and Gum Damage

By Roni S. Berbari, DMD on July 14, 2017

A young woman smilingEveryone experiences dry mouth (xerostomia) at some point in their life. Sometimes this dry mouth is chronic and persistent. It can make speaking and eating more difficult, but those are very minor worries.

The team at our Montreal restorative dentistry centre would like to go over the various dental health dangers related to dry mouth. We'll first note some of the causes of dry mouth so you have a better understanding of the condition and what is involved.

Common Causes of Dry Mouth

Dry mouth can be caused by a variety of things.

  • Dehydration
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Blockage of a salivary gland
  • Use of tobacco products
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Advanced age
  • Medication side effects
  • Systemic diseases and conditions

Whatever causes dry mouth, issues with persistent dry mouth will result in a number of dental health issues.

How Dry Mouth Affects the Teeth

A lack of saliva in the mouth means problems with tooth remineralization. When remineralization is slowed down or impacted, this makes the teeth more susceptible to a number of issues affecting the tooth enamel. This means weaker teeth.

Dry mouth conditions are ideal for the bacteria in the mouth to thrive. This means an increased risk of cavities and a more rapid progression for tooth decay. On top of this, the acidity of the mouth may be high in dry mouth conditions, resulting in a risk of acidic erosion of the tooth enamel.

How Dry Mouth Affects the Gums

As the oral bacteria thrives, this increases the risk of gum disease. This infection of the gum tissue can lead to a number of negative effects on the gumline, including gum irritation, gum discoloration, and bleeding gums.

Over time, the gums may recede as a result of advanced gum disease. This means a greater likelihood of tooth sensitivity as well as tooth decay below the gumline.

Dry Mouth as a Symptom of a Bigger Problem

In addition to impacting the teeth and gums, dry mouth may be the first warning signs of a major health problem. Dry mouth and low saliva production is one of the symptoms of oral cancer.

If you suffer from chronic dry mouth and notice oral lesions and dental pain, be sure to speak with a dentist or your doctor so this matter can be properly examined. Early detection increases the chances of successful cancer treatment.

Treating Damage Caused by Dry Mouth

If you suffer from dental damage caused by dry mouth, there are numerous restorative dentistry procedures that can help. Tooth damage can be fixed by using various kinds of restorations, such as fillings, inlays, onlays, and crowns. Gum disease and gum recession can be addressed through various periodontal health procedures. These can bring the infection under control and rebuild the gumline.

Treatments for Dry Mouth

Treatments for dry mouth can vary depending on the cause of the problem. Proper hydration can help prevent and remedy dry mouth in many patients. For blocked salivary glands, many dentists recommend sugar-free sour candies to promote saliva production and dislodge any blockages.

For dry mouth that is persistent and chronic, patients can use artificial saliva products to increase the level of moisture in the mouth. These items tend to come in spray, gel, and lozenge form.

Learn More About Your Advanced Dental Care Options

For more information about treating dry mouth and the various health problems associated with dry mouth, be sure to contact our cosmetic plastic surgery centre today. We look forward to your visit and discussing the ideal treatment options for you and your needs.

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