Dry Mouth and Dental Damage

Dry Mouth and Dental Damage - New York, NY

Jul 9, 2016 — by Ernest Robertson D.D.S.
Tags: General Dentistry Restorative Dentistry

Healthy, white teethDid you know that dry mouth increases the risk of dental damage? Saliva plays an important role in oral health. Without sufficient saliva, the teeth are left vulnerable to decay and other forms of damage. General dentistry treatments can help protect the teeth from the damage caused by dry mouth, ensuring a healthy, beautiful smile for years to come. To discover your treatment options for dry mouth and dental damage, schedule a consultation with our New York, NY team of dentists at the Harlem Center for Aesthetic Dentistry.

Dental Damage Associated with Dry Mouth

Saliva plays an essential role in oral health. It helps wash away food debris and bacteria from the teeth. It helps neutralize acids within the mouth and restores minerals to the teeth, both of which help reduce the risk of enamel erosion.

Dry mouth has many possible causes, such as dehydration, infected salivary glands, and diabetes, but is essentially a condition in which the salivary glands don't produce enough saliva. Dry mouth, also called xerostomia, may seem like a minor nuisance, but it can actually lead to serious dental issues, including:

  • Enamel erosion: Dry mouth increases the risk of enamel erosion since acids and food debris are not sufficiently washed away or neutralized.
  • Tooth decay: In addition to acids and food being left on the teeth, dry mouth also leaves behind plaque and bacteria, all of which increase the risk of tooth decay. If left untreated, tooth decay can lead to tooth loss.
  • Gum disease: Gum disease is another risk of dry mouth. Gum disease is a bacterial infection of the gums that occurs as a result of plaque and tartar buildup and increases the risk of tooth decay. Dry mouth leaves plaque and bacteria on the teeth and within the mouth, resulting in an increased risk of gum disease.
  • Tooth discoloration: Those who suffer from dry mouth are more likely to experience tooth discoloration as a result of food debris, plaque buildup, and enamel erosion.

Tips to Protect Your Smile from Dry Mouth

Dry mouth doesn't have to lead to dental damage. Practicing proper oral hygiene and seeking dental treatment can greatly reduce the risks associated with dry mouth. In addition to practicing proper dental care, you can help protect your smile from dry mouth by taking steps to alleviate dry mouth, such as:

  • Stay hydrated: Dehydration can cause dry mouth. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day can help alleviate dry mouth caused by dehydration. Drinking water while eating can also help wash away food remnants and bacteria, and neutralize acid.
  • Use an alcohol-free mouthwash: Many mouthwashes are alcohol-based, which can dry the mouth out. Using an alcohol-free mouthwash can provide the freshening benefits of mouthwash without the drying effects.
  • Use a humidifier or vaporizer: In some cases, dry mouth is caused by breathing dry air. Adding moisture to the air with a humidifier or using a vaporizer can help alleviate dry mouth caused by dry air and protect oral health.
  • Use an over-the-counter saliva substitute: The symptoms of dry mouth can sometimes be alleviated with an over-the-counter saliva substitute.
  • Chew sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free candies: Chewing on sugar-free gum or sucking on sugar-free candies, especially after meals, can help increase saliva production and help alleviate dry mouth.

Discover Your Treatment Options

If you suffer from dry mouth, we encourage you to schedule a consultation at the Harlem Center for Aesthetic Dentistry to learn more about your treatment options.

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