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Staten Island Aesthetic & Implant Dentist

How Dry Mouth Can Lead to Serious Dental Damage

By Alex Hecht on September 23, 2016

A dental mirror and toothbrushHere at Staten Island Aesthetic & Implant Dentist, we always take dental health issues seriously. A seemingly minor problem could be the sign of a more serious one. This approach to preventative and early case is what makes us a leader in advanced restorative dentistry and general dental care.

For instance, many patients shrug off occasional issues with dry mouth (xerostomia). Persistent dry mouth, however, may be a sign for concern.

About Dry Mouth

Dry mouth refers to the lack of saliva and general moisture in the mouth. It can be caused by a variety of things. Temporary causes of dry mouth include stress, dehydration, and physical blockage of the salivary glands. The condition is also associated with advanced age, medication side effects, nerve damage, and other health problems such as HIV/AIDS and Sjogren's syndrome.

The dangers linked to dry mouth are many. Let's consider some minor dangers and progress to much more serious ones.

Difficulty Speaking

Problems with speaking are rather low on the scale of danger when it comes to dry mouth, but it can be quite annoying. This is particularly true during major presentations or speeches. Sometimes not even a glass of water can help.

Problems with Chewing and Swallowing

Saliva is necessary to help in the proper chewing and swallowing of food. Without saliva, the food in your mouth won't break down properly, and swallowing this food can be very painful. If the dry mouth is a long-term problem, this can lead to potential malnutrition and other health problems linked to a poor diet.

Increased Risk of Tooth Decay and Acid Erosion

Saliva does more than just keep your mouth moist. It also helps with the remineralization of your teeth, keeping the tooth enamel strong and sturdy. When you suffer from dry mouth, your enamel isn't as strong as it should be, which can lead to increased risk for tooth decay and acidic dental erosion. These can both occur more rapidly in mouth that are consistently dry.

Increased Risk of Gum Disease

In addition to increased risk and more rapid development of tooth decay and enamel erosion, gum disease tends to thrive when the mouth is dry. This means that the effects of gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis may be far worse for you.

Issues with Root Canal Infections and Tooth Loss

With the heightened risk of tooth decay, acid erosion, and gum disease, this means your chances of experiencing a root canal infection also go up. An infected tooth may not be able to be saved, which means extraction may be necessary. Serious tooth decay and gum disease can also cause your teeth to become loose and fall out.

Potential Warning Sign of Oral Cancer

Perhaps the biggest danger of dry mouth is that it's a symptom associated with different kinds of oral cancers. Persistent dry mouth in combination with pain in part of the mouth or stiffness of the jaw needs to be taken very seriously.

How a Dentist Can Help You

Your dentist can diagnose your dry mouth and identify the root cause of the issue. Through proper diagnosis, the exact treatment you need can be implemented. Sometimes it's as simple as promoting salivation, while other times we can discuss artificial saliva products and far more advanced dry mouth therapies.

Contact Staten Island Aesthetic & Implant Dentist

For more information about treating dry mouth and having a smile that's healthy and beautiful again, be sure to contact our advanced cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. The team at Staten Island Aesthetic & Implant Dentist is here to help you smile with renewed confidence.

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