Not many people give the proper amount of thought toward dry mouth, considering it nothing more than a side effect of exercise or being thirsty. But there is a bit more to dry mouth that should be considered and its side effects are also concerning.
Dry mouth can have many negative effects on your oral health. It can cause discomfort and ignoring dry mouth can allow bacteria to thrive in your mouth. This condition can even be the reason why you might be experiencing bad breath.
Why Is Saliva Important To Your Oral Health?
The saliva produced by your mouth serves as the first line of defense for your teeth, washing away dangerous bacteria and food particles. Saliva works to help us digest food and is what makes it possible to chew and swallow.
When your mouth is free of saliva, you are suffering from dry mouth. Your teeth will be defenseless against decay and bad breath causing bacteria.
What Causes Dry Mouth?
There are a variety of different reasons for why you may have developed dry mouth:
Studies show that up to three-fourths of Americans are not drinking enough water to maintain a healthy level of hydration. How much water are you drinking every day? Health officials state that a grown adult should be drinking at least 64 ounces of water per day and yet many people don’t come anywhere near drinking that much water even in a week.
Drinking water is vital to maintaining saliva production. Saliva is made up of a variety of substances, but water is the largest component. By staying hydrated, you will be able to keep your saliva production strong and fend off one of the major causes of dry mouth.
2. Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol is widely consumed in the United States. Go to any adult party and you’re likely to see people drinking some kind of alcoholic beverage. When drinking alcohol, you have more to worry about than a potential headache in the morning.
The reason to be wary of alcohol is that it is a diuretic. This type of substance increases the rate at which you urinate. This takes away a lot of the water that would normally be used to produce saliva and dry mouth is likely to result.
While drinking alcohol in moderation is unlikely to cause you any problems, you should still be aware of the potential effects it can have on your oral health.
3. Tobacco Usage
There are numerous studies that have shown that tobacco use can decrease the amount of saliva your mouth can produce. One study stated that “findings indicated that long-term smoking would significantly reduce [salivary flow rate] and increase oral and dental disorders associated with dry mouth, especially cervical caries, gingivitis, tooth mobility, calculus, and halitosis.”
One of the best things you can do for your oral health is give up tobacco. Not only does it dry your mouth, but it also opens your mouth to tooth decay and gum disease. These conditions can cost you teeth and are best avoided if possible.
4. Prescription Drugs
According to Colgate, there are over 500 different medications that can cause dry mouth. Antihistamines, antidepressants and sedatives can all contain ingredients that dry out your mouth. And this is just a small sample of the types of prescription drug that can do this.
Fortunately, there are many different drugs available in each category and some of them will not dry your mouth out. If you are taking a medication that you believe is affecting your ability to produce saliva, make an appointment with your doctor to speak about it.
If you breathe through your mouth, the incoming air can cause dryness. Just like hot air can evaporate puddles on the ground, so too can breathing through your mouth affect your saliva.
This problem is harder to address as breathing is necessary for survival, but there is a solution. By learning to breathe primarily through your nose, you can solve this issue.
What Can You Do To Help Your Mouth?
There are some different things you can do to address dry mouth before speaking with a doctor.
- Drink water or sugarless drinks regularly
- Avoid drinking caffeine in excess
- Limit or give up alcohol and tobacco use
- Eat spicy and salty foods in moderation
Contact Us At The Center For Breath Treatment
Dry mouth is a cause of bad breath that many patients ignore. Without a healthy supply of saliva, bad breath and tooth decay-causing bacteria may compromise your oral health. If you believe that dry mouth is playing a part in your bad breath, contact our office and schedule a consultation with Dr. Anthony Dailley. See how our talented staff can help today!