Healthy teeth and gums depend good oral habits, such as brushing and flossing every day, and regular dental checkups and cleanings. But did you know that saliva production is vital to oral health, and especially for your teeth and gums?
Saliva travels through the salivary ducts and into your mouth after being created in your salivary glands. It is needed to lubricate the oral tissues in the mouth so that you can swallow, chew, and speak comfortably. Not only that, but a healthy saliva flow is also essential for controlling bacterial levels in the mouth and helping with digestion. Chronic low levels of saliva production is known as xerostomia, or dry mouth.
Causes of Dry Mouth
–Antihistamine and decongestants
Chronic dry mouth puts you at higher risk for both gum disease and tooth decay. So what can you do if you suffer from chronic dry mouth? First, to increase saliva production you need to stay hydrated. Take the time to sip water throughout the day and limit your consumption of beverages such as alcohol, coffee, tea, and caffeinated sodas as they act as diuretics, flushing water from your system.
Second, stimulate saliva production by chew sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free candy. Medication use it a little trickier; if your medications are causing dry mouth, your doctor may want to lower the dosage or put you on a different medication instead. Avoid using alcohol-based mouthwashes, and switch to a fluoride rinse instead. Be sure to use a fluoridated toothpaste as well. Finally, if you have discomfort during sleep because of dry mouth, use a room humidifier while you sleep and develop the habit of breathing through your nose, not your mouth.
Don’t chronic dry mouth keep you from a healthy smile. Practice good oral hygiene, see your dentist for regular checkups and stay well hydrated. To schedule your next dental visit with Dr. Amy A. Gearin, please call our dental team in Las Vegas, Nevada at 702-367-4040 today.