What causes dry mouth?
A common side effect of many medications that are used to treat conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, or depression is a condition called dry mouth, also known as xerostomia.
Additionally, dry mouth may be a side effect of certain systemic diseases or infections. For instance, Sjogren’s syndrome is linked to patients developing tooth decay, or even tooth loss.
Other causes of dry mouth include side effects of certain medical treatments. For example, head and neck radiation or chemotherapy used to treat cancer have been known to damage salivary glands, which are responsible for producing saliva. Other conditions that lead to dehydration also cause dry mouth.
How can my dentist tell if I have dry mouth?
Dr. Lepore and our team are trained to identify dry mouth. Additionally, we may ask what type of symptoms you may have been experiencing.
Symptoms of dry mouth include:
- Bad breath
- Your throat feels dry, sore, or hoarse
- Frequent thirst
- You have noticed your tongue appears dry, red or raw
- You have experienced a burning or tingling sensation in your mouth
How does dry mouth affect my oral health?
By not producing enough saliva, which is designed to rinse your teeth and gums naturally, dry mouth can increase your risk of gum disease, mouth infections, tooth decay or even tooth loss.
How can my dentist or medical doctor treat my dry mouth?
It may be beneficial for you to speak with your medical doctor to see if it is possible to put you on a new medication that does not cause dry mouth, or perhaps lower the dosage.
Additionally, Dr. Lepore or your dental hygienist may recommend certain therapeutic treatment options that are best suited for your needs.