Dry Mouth: Why It's a Serious Dental Problem and How to Treat It By Jin Ha Joung on July 10, 2014

An older couple at home smilingWe at Ridgewood Dental Associates offer patients the latest in general dentistry and restorative dental care. This allows our team to treat all sorts of dental problems great and small. Some dental problems are both. One particular dental health issue that seems minor but could be major is dry mouth, which we'd like to consider right now.

About Dry Mouth

Also referred to xerostomia and cotton mouth, dry mouth refers to the lack of moisture within a person's mouth. This is due to a lack of saliva production or an inability for saliva to be produced.

Common Causes of Dry Mouth

Some of most common causes of dry mouth include:

  • Blocked salivary glands
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Dehydration
  • Damage to nerves
  • Medication side effects
  • Medical treatment side effects
  • Tobacco products
  • Systemic diseases
  • The natural aging process

As you can see, the causes of dry mouth are very diverse, which is why people have experienced this issue at least a few times in their lives. If the dry mouth is persistent, there are some major issues or dangers to consider.

Dry Mouth Makes Speaking and Eating Difficult

If a person has dry mouth, speaking can be difficult or labored. Similar problems can occur when a person tries to eat or chew. Long-term dry mouth can result in difficulty communicating and even problems getting proper nutrition. Chapped lips also become more likely as a result of persistent dry mouth.

Dry Mouth Makes Dental Problems Worse

One of the major dangers of dry mouth is that it exacerbates existing dental problems. The process of tooth decay can be sped up, for instance, as can the damage done by gum disease. Bad breath also becomes much worse when a person has a dry mouth.

Dry Mouth May Be a Sign of a Medical Problem

You'll note that dry mouth is a symptom of certain systemic diseases and conditions, some of which include strokes, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, arthritis, anemia, and oral cancers.

Treatment Options for Dry Mouth

Sometimes treating dry mouth is relatively easy. Patients may be told to suck on sour candies or chew on gum, for instance, to help unblock any substances that may be in their salivary glands. The candy and gum will stimulate the production of saliva.

If a patient's dental health is otherwise good, the dry mouth may be related to a systemic disease or condition. It's important that the patient visit his or her general practitioner to undergo the treatment that they require.

When a person's dry mouth is persistent, a good general option to consider is the use of artificial saliva. These artificial sources of oral moisture come in spray, lozenge, and gel forms, and the best one for you and your needs can be discussed in greater detail.

Treating the Effects of Dry Mouth

Since dry mouth can lead to many dental problems, it's important that these get addressed as well. We have many different treatment options available to take care of dry mouth-related dental problems, including the use of dental restorations and the use of gum grafting and soft tissue augmentation techniques. During your consultation, we will be more than happy to go over your options for advanced dental care.

Learn More About Advanced Dental Care Treatments

For more information about dry mouth and how it can be prevented and treated, it's important that you contact our dental care center today. During your visit to Ridgewood Dental Associates, we will make sure that all of your concerns are addressed in full.

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Drs. Jin Ha Joung, Mark Samani, and Min-Hee Cho.

Ridgewood Dental Associates

At Ridgewood Dental Associates in Bergen County, we pride ourselves on being able to handle virtually all of your needs in a single location. Dr. Jin Ha Joung, Dr. Mark Samani, and Dr. Min-Hee Cho are affiliated with:

  • American College of Prosthodontists
  • American Academy of Periodontology
  • Academy of Osseointegration
  • American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine
  • American Dental Association

For more information about our services, contact our office or call (201) 652-2474 today.

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