Dry mouth causes a host of issues with regard to oral health. Known as xerostomia, dry mouth is brought on by the salivary glands not producing enough saliva. While it can be a temporary condition because of dehydration, for some it can be a chronic problem too. If it happens with regularity, it could be indicative of an underlying problem such as diabetes or an infection of the salivary gland.
With the lack of saliva in the mouth one of the mouth's best defenses is unable to perform at its best. Saliva helps cut down on acids in the oral cavity, washes away leftover bits of food and provides important minerals to teeth to keep them strong and healthy. When saliva is not produced at a normal rate and dry mouth happens often there are a number of dental health conditions that can occur including gum disease.
Serious Oral Health Diseases Brought on by Dry Mouth
Without saliva to properly help the teeth stay strong and healthy, dry mouth actually hastens tooth decay by not washing away harmful acids. Plaque stays on the tooth's surface as do food remnants. This can turn into tartar, which begins the process of tooth decay. Because of the acid nature of the human mouth, enamel erosion can occur at an alarming rate due to dry mouth. Again, as the enamel is eaten away, the tooth is defenseless against tooth decay or other infections of the tooth. Coupled with enamel erosion is dental staining. Because the hard enamel is gone, teeth can become stained or discolored looking due to food particles and higher than normal levels of plaque staying on the teeth.
The most serious of all complications of dry mouth is gum disease which is caused by an infection from tartar at the gums. This can lead to tooth loss and complicate other health issues for the patient. If you have concerns about dry mouth find out more by calling us.
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