Dry mouth is one of the most common contributory factors to tooth decay and other oral health problems. We at Dr. Lis Bradly’s office want our patients to understand how this condition puts them at risk for infections as well as some steps they can take to prevent it.
Scientifically known as xerostomia, dry mouth occurs when the salivary glands don’t produce enough saliva. This is a problem because saliva helps clean the mouth of food debris and makes it easier to swallow. Without it, bacteria are able to multiply more quickly. Saliva also helps to prevent acid from eroding tooth enamel and allows patients to get more comfortable sleep, improving their immune function.
Usually, dry mouth occurs in older people, but this is because it is a common medication side-effect. Sjögren’s disease, which is most common in older women, is another common cause. Some ways of ameliorating dry mouth are to artificially stimulate additional saliva and to avoid consuming things which dry the mouth out further. Sugary and caffeinated drinks are taxing on the salivary glands, as are alcohol and spicy food. Sugar-free gum is a good way of getting saliva flowing, and fluoride treatments bolster teeth’s resistance to decay.
Lis Bradley, DDS, operates at 8112 Isabella Ln, Suite 101, Brentwood, Tennessee. To schedule an appointment, visit LisBradleyDDS.com or call 615-778-0810.