Causes, Risks and Management of Dry Mouth

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A Decrease in Saliva Flow Can Impact Your Oral Health.

Xerostomia, commonly known as dry mouth, can happen at any age and can be caused by simple
things like not drinking enough liquids or from side effects of a medication or illness. Whatever the
cause of your dry mouth, if left unchecked it can put you at an increased risk of tooth decay and gum
disease. The increased risk of dental issues is due to a lack of saliva, or the right quality saliva, in your
mouth to fight bacteria.

Everyone will experience a dry mouth at some point, upon waking after fasting all night, or after
drinking beverages like coffee or alcohol. Occurrences like these are normal and generally resolved
after consuming water. Should you experience a dry mouth at other times, or for prolonged periods,
you may need to seek advice from a good dentist. Medland Dental have been caring for patients in
Brisbane, and around Australia, for almost sixty years and are very experienced in helping to treat
this condition.

Causes of Dry Mouth include:

  • Dehydration
  • Side effects from a medication or polypharmacy (multiple medications)
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Infections
  • Side effects from particular diseases
  • Nerve damage after injury or surgery


The Effects of Dry Mouth

Prolonged dry mouth can have a devastating impact on your teeth and gums. Imagine saliva as a
constant bath for your mouth, washing away debris and bacteria. Our teeth are in a continuous
demineralisation-remineralisation cycle. Minerals become depleted from our teeth by everyday
eating and drinking, and it is our healthy saliva that helps to replenish these lost minerals which
prevent tooth decay. It also provides lubrication for your delicate gum tissue and assists in the action
of swallowing. Without enough saliva, you may experience mouth ulcers, a reduced sense of taste
and have difficulty swallowing.


How to Alleviate Dry Mouth

If you suffer from dry mouth, it is important not push through it, and not to think that it will go away without
assistance. Reach out to your dentist or medical professional to get advice. You can also try:

  • Increasing your water intake. One of the biggest causes of dry mouth in older adults is the lack of
    water consumption.
  • Chew sugar-free gum or sugar-free mints. The action of sucking and chewing will promote saliva
  • Brush and floss twice a day. Good oral hygiene prevents plaque build-up and fights tooth decay.
  • Avoid tobacco and dehydrating drinks such as caffeine and alcohol.
  • Ask your doctor or dentist for advice. They may be able to suggest additional or alternate
    medications or a product that helps fight dry mouth.

If you struggle with excessive dry mouth, talk to your Medland Dental dentist in Brisbane about your
symptoms. It is best to get on top of the problem before it has a toll on your teeth, as the adage
goes; prevention is better than cure!

If you would like any further information on treating a dry mouth or any other dental concerns,
please don’t hesitate to call the exceptional team at Medland Dental on 07 3426 5777.