To know what dry mouth does to your teeth, it helps to know what dry mouth is. Dry mouth is a condition that is characterized by not having enough saliva to keep your mouth moisturized. Your saliva actually helps to clean your teeth throughout the day.
Most people have experienced dry mouth. You have trouble speaking and feel the urge to try and produce more saliva. It is an annoying and uncomfortable condition and it is also bad for your oral hygiene.
What Causes Dry Mouth?
Dry mouth can develop for a variety of reasons. Mouth breathers are particularly susceptible to this because breathing through an open mouth causes your saliva to dry. Certain medications can also cause dry mouth. Pain medication notorious for causing this problem. Cancer patients who are taking chemotherapy, radiation or both can also suffer from dry mouth.
Diuretics, anti-depressants, and antihistamines are also dry mouth producing culprits. Cigarette smokers have no doubt noticed that their mouths get dry when they smoke. Stress, not drinking enough fluids, and strenuous exercise can also trigger the condition.
So, What Happens to Your Teeth?
Not having sufficient saliva to allow your body's natural defenses to work has a detrimental effect on your oral health. Saliva helps to begin the digestive process. It helps to wash the bacteria and food particles from your teeth that can cause tooth decay. It also helps remove the acids that build up on your teeth from eating acidic foods or drinking acidic drinks.
When acid or bacteria remain on your teeth plaque builds up. This leads not only to decay but also to bad breath and gum disease. Insufficient saliva can also lead to oral candidiasis, commonly known as thrush. To prevent these problems, drink plenty of water if you are a candidate for dry mouth as noted above.
Also, call our office to make sure we can keep an eye on your overall oral health while we help treat the problem.