If you suffer from dry mouth, there are many things that could be causing it. Saliva is important for our teeth and gums: it helps to protect the teeth from harmful bacteria and keeps your smile healthy. Dry mouth can lead to enamel erosion, cavities, and may even be a contributing factor for gum disease.
But what are the causes of dry mouth? Here are the top things that may be making your mouth feel dry and uncomfortable in addition to affecting your oral health.
One of the most common causes of dry mouth is simply not drinking enough water. It’s estimated that nearly 75% of Americans aren’t getting enough water throughout the day. Sipping on plain water during the day can help you meet your fluid intake requirements as well as combat dehydration—and dry mouth.
So what drinks are acceptable? Although coffee, caffeinated teas and sodas, and energy drinks won’t count towards your total, water, and herbal tea are acceptable. Remember that plain water is always your best bet!
Many medications, both prescription and over-the- counter, can cause dry mouth. Some of these medications include anti-depressants, high blood pressure medications, pain medications, and anxiety medications. In addition to these, some over-the- counter allergy medications such as antihistamines and decongestants can cause your mouth to feel dry.
If possible, you can talk with your doctor to see if you can switch medications. If switching medications isn’t an option, you can help relieve your dry mouth throughout the day by adopting a few simple habits. Your options may include sipping water, chewing sugar-free gum, and consuming less caffeine.
Tobacco and Alcohol
Using tobacco, including cigarette smoking, chewing tobacco, and even e-cigarettes can all contribute to dry mouth. Drinking alcohol can easily dehydrate you and can cause dry mouth. It’s important to keep drinking water while consuming alcohol, as you can become dehydrated with each drink and not realize it.
Quitting tobacco products is essential for regaining your oral health back. In addition to stopping dry mouth, cutting out tobacco products can also reduce your risk for cancer, including oral cancer.
As we age, our mouths may not produce as much saliva. Some people are more susceptible to dry mouth than others, depending on what type of medications you’re on, whether or not you smoke, and how much water you drink throughout the day.
If you’re older and suffering from dry mouth, it could be from a variety of things. If you have other health concerns, are on certain kinds of medication, or are receiving treatment such as radiation therapy, you may be more likely to experience dry mouth.
Are you suffering from dry mouth? You can make an appointment with your dentist to help combat the effects dry mouth can have on your smile. From enamel erosion to tooth decay and gum disease, dry mouth is nothing to take lightly. You can fight dry mouth and have a beautiful smile with the help of your dentist and doctor!