The condition known as dry mouth, formal name xerostomia, is not as common as some, but it can cause extreme discomfort and may lead to malnutrition and serious throat syndrome. Dry mouth is due to a decrease in the natural flow of saliva produced by the salivary glands.
The process of digestion is commonly thought to take place in the stomach, but it actually begins in the mouth. Saliva softens the food that we put in our mouths so that it is easier to swallow. It also protects the teeth from cavity causing bacteria by helping to wash away leftover food particles that can get stuck between the teeth. Saliva is what stimulates our taste buds so that we can enjoy our food. A lack of saliva can hinder nutritional needs and make it hard for us to speak clearly.
Because dry mouth is often a side effect of the vital medicines that we take to control prevalent conditions such as high blood pressure the best treatment may be to change some of our daily habits and start taking measures to preserve the amount of saliva that we do have. Staying hydrated by drinking more water throughout the day will help to keep the mouth moist. Your dentist may also recommend chewing gum – sugarless of course – to promote the flow of saliva. Some patients can benefit from a prescribed medication.
Your dentist will do a thorough exam to try to pinpoint the symptoms and identify the source of your particular problem so that he can start you on the best possible treatment plan. An initial diagnosis of dry mouth will mean that your symptoms can be relieved before they become severe, one more reason to keep regular appointments for dental checkups. With early intervention and the proper precautions the chances for better control of symptoms increase.
Spokane Valley Dentistry offers an extensive range of dental services to accommodate every member of the family. Call our office @ 509-926-6261 to schedule your next appointment.