Dry mouth is a common problem and can be a real nuisance. But, did you know that it is actually a real medical problem? The medical term for dry mouth is Xerostomia. This term refers to dryness in the mouth due to either reduced saliva or the absence of saliva. Although it is considered a nuisance by most, dry mouth or Xerostomia can also have a negative affect on your oral health.
Dry mouth can lead to serious dental health issues because the saliva in your mouth has the important job of preventing tooth decay. Saliva prevents tooth decay by limiting the growth of bacteria in your mouth and by washing away food particles.
If your body is not producing enough saliva, you may notice symptoms such as dryness in your mouth, sore throat, bad breath, cracked lips, an altered sense of taste, difficulty swallowing and more. In many cases, dry mouth is a side effect of a medication. In this case, changing the medication or altering the dose may eliminate or reduce the problem. Aging, cancer therapy and nerve damage to your neck and head can also cause Xerostomia.
If you are experiencing dry mouth, the first step is to schedule an appointment with your doctor or dentist. Your doctor may recommend changing your medications or altering the dose of medication you are currently taking. Your doctor or your dentist may prescribe medication to stimulate saliva production. Your dentist may also fit you for coverings filled with fluoride to wear over your teeth at night, to protect them from cavities.
Whatever you do, do not dismiss persistent dry mouth as simply a nuisance. If you are experiencing persistent dry mouth, talk to your dentist or doctor today about how you can deal with this problem and safeguard your long-term dental health.
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