13 Dec How to Prevent Dry Mouth: Why Saliva Production Is So Important
Dry mouth—it might not sound like anything to be worried about, but having a chronically dry mouth can lead to some serious dental problems. Your saliva plays an important role in protecting your teeth and gums. It neutralizes acid attacks, washes away food debris, and even helps strengthen your enamel. Here’s why saliva production is so important.
What Is Dry Mouth?
Dry mouth isn’t just uncomfortable, it is an actual medical condition. It’s called xerostomia, and it means that the mouth does not produce enough saliva to stay wet. This can make chewing and swallowing difficult, but it’s bad news for your dental health as well.
Without saliva to wash away food debris and bacteria, plaque can easily start building up and making trouble. Plaque releases acids that attack your tooth enamel and eventually cause cavities. The acid attacks from plaque also irritate and inflame your gums, leading to gingivitis and gum disease.
Why Is Saliva Production So Important?
Besides helping you swallow, your saliva also helps to prevent and neutralize acid attacks from plaque. The more saliva your mouth makes, the sooner a neutral pH balance can be restored. And the more often you swallow, the more plaque-causing bacteria your saliva can wash away.
Your saliva also contains vital minerals that help strengthen and rebuild your tooth enamel. The trace amounts of calcium, phosphate, and fluoride in your saliva help strengthen your teeth against the wear and tear of chewing. These minerals also help rebuild tooth enamel to strengthen your teeth against acid attacks. Without adequate saliva to remineralize your teeth, they are more vulnerable to damage and decay.
What Causes Dry Mouth?
Dry mouth is one of the main side effects of many common medications. If you’re taking medication for allergies, depression, heart disease, nausea, ADHD, or a number of other conditions, you’re more likely to suffer from dry mouth.
Nicotine dries out your mouth and stains your teeth, so don’t use it! Cigarettes are not the only culprit here—vaping can be even worse. Vape juice contains propylene glycol, a humectant that sucks up moisture and can cause a chronically dry mouth.
Are you drinking enough water? You might be surprised how easy it is to become dehydrated. If you feel like you’re constantly applying lip balm, or your mouth feels sticky inside, you probably aren’t getting enough hydration. Keep a water bottle with you so you don’t forget to sip throughout the day.
How Can You Prevent Dry Mouth?
Because it makes the risk of cavities and gum diseases so much higher, it’s important to prevent dry mouth when you can. Drinking water more often is one of the best things you can do for your dental health. It helps your mouth stay hydrated and stimulates saliva production.
You can also talk to your doctor about changing your medication, try chewing sugar-free gum, and quit smoking or vaping. Avoiding caffeine and alcohol can help prevent dry mouth as well. And getting frequent teeth cleanings from your dental hygienist will help prevent plaque buildup that dry mouth causes.
Holistic Dental Care in Prescott Arizona
At Prescott Dentistry, we focus on prevention, because good dental health is important for good health in general. If you suffer from dry mouth, we can offer preventive treatments that reduce your risk of gum disease and tooth decay. Give us a call to schedule an appointment, or send us a message to learn more.