Avoid “Dry Mouth” And The Problems It Can Cause

Posted on Aug 30, 2016 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

We all have not-so-fresh breath on occasion. Some foods, certain illnesses and smoking can all lead to bad breath.

The problem, however, is when bad breath is persistent. This is an early sign of periodontal (gum) disease. If your bad breath is caused by gum disease, you may also be experiencing sore and tender gums and gums that bleed when brushing. If gum disease is not the problem, you may be suffering with dry mouth. However, it is important to know that dry mouth that occurs on a regular basis greatly increases your susceptibility to develop gum disease.

Oral dryness is what causes your mouth to feel stale and sticky when you wake up. This occurs because your oral tissues dry out during sleep. This provides an ideal environment for bacteria to multiply. As they thrive and reproduce, bacteria form a sticky film known as plaque.

Dry mouth can be caused by alcoholic beverages or coffee, which have a drying affect on oral tissues. Also drying are some medications that can decrease saliva flow. Saliva is designed to wash oral bacteria from the mouth. Many antihistamines and some medications for depression and urinary incontinence, among others, can cause dry mouth.

Medical conditions such as acid reflux, sinus infections, diabetes and bronchitis can also contribute to dry mouth. Breathing through the mouth because of snoring or a bad cold are drying to oral tissues as well.

Once we can determine the cause of your oral dryness, we can address the problem effectively. For example, if you take medications that have a side effect of oral dryness, there may be alternatives that have less drying effects.

In the meantime, take measures to lessen the negative effects of oral dryness. These include:
 – Brush at least twice daily for a minimum of two minutes. Use a tongue scraper or brush your tongue with your toothbrush after brushing.
 – Floss daily. If this is difficult, consider purchasing an electronic or water flosser.
 – Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Consider using an oral rinse that replenishes oral moisture. These are available without a prescription.

If you have symptoms of gum disease or feel you have persistent bad breath, we can help you avoid the problems that can result, including tooth loss. Call 828-274-9440 to schedule an examination. Or, feel free to begin with a consultation.

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