School is out. The sun is out longer, and it’s hotter outside than it was just a few months ago.
This is the time of year when health experts remind us to wear sunscreen, keep cool, and drink plenty of water. We want to add our endorsement about drinking water.
Dry mouth may seem like an inconvenience, but it can lead to some serious oral health concerns if you ignore it. We can help with those issues at Beaumont Family Dentistry, but for your sake, we hope you never have to deal with them.
Whether you live in Lexington, Richmond, or anywhere else in Central Kentucky, our dentists want you to know the ways that dry mouth can affect you.
Symptoms Of Dry Mouth
One of the easiest ways to address dry mouth is drinking water. You don’t need to drink gallon after gallon, but have a glass of water handy makes it easier to avoid this issue.
You should be aware not everything you drink will help prevent dry mouth. Drinks with caffeine may actually increase your risk of dry mouth.
Smoking and drinking alcoholic drinks also increase your chances of developing a dry mouth.
With this in mind, dry mouth can come on gradually. You may not realize how dry your mouth has become until you notice one or more of the following:
- A sticky or dry feeling on your tongue and other soft tissues
- A dry sensation in your throat
- Cracked lips
- A burning feeling in your mouth
When your mouth is dry, you may be more likely to develop sores and infections, too.
The Problems of Dry Mouth
Saliva plays an important role in helping you keep your mouth healthy. On a typical day, your body can produce between two and four pints of saliva.
Having saliva makes it easier to bite and chew the food that you eat. Saliva can reduce the bad breath in your mouth.
And for people with dentures, saliva can assist in keeping those dentures in place.
If you don’t have enough saliva (a condition called xerostomia), then you run the risk of developing oral health problems. We have mentioned a few of them below.
◼︎ Gum Disease
This is the leading cause of tooth loss in the United States. It’s also more likely to occur if you don’t have enough saliva in your mouth.
One of the important things that saliva does is assisting in removing bacteria from your mouth. Bacteria cause gum disease. When you don’t produce enough saliva, it can make it easier for bacteria to form plaque, which can turn into tartar. In any case, plaque and tartar buildup can create an opportunity for gum disease to develop.
To treat minor gum disease (gingivitis), you need to brush your teeth twice a day and floss between your teeth and gums every day. Making routine dental visits can help, too.
Advanced gum disease (periodontitis) may require professional help to remove. If you should notice symptoms like receding gums, sore gums, or lingering bad breath, then you should give us a call.
We can use our dental laser and other deep cleaning techniques to remove the infected parts of your gums and the plaque and tartar that contributed to your problem.
◼︎ Tooth Decay
Bacteria also cause tooth decay. As with gum disease, having a dry mouth makes it easier for those bacteria to thrive.
As they multiply, they can make plaque and start eating into the protective enamel on your teeth. You may not realize this is happening at first. With time, the decay can start to change the color of your teeth, and if it persists untreated, it can eat into the center of your tooth and cause a painful infection.
◼︎ Oral Thrush
Oral thrush is caused by a yeast germ. As with the bacteria, the germ Candida can grow better in dry mouths. Symptoms of oral thrush include white spots in your mouth or spots that appear red and feel sore.
This can be embarrassing for some patients, and it can interfere with your ability to taste the food that you eat.
You lose a lot of moisture when you are in the heat, especially if you are active through sports or other recreational activities. Remember to keep water handy to sip and drink throughout the day.
Also, remember that Beaumont Family Dentistry has three locations in Lexington to assist in treating dry mouth and the potential consequences like gum disease and tooth decay. To make your next appointment, call any of our offices or make an appointment online.