Dry mouth. It sucks. There are lots of remedies people use from chewing gum to sucking on hard candies. While these provide temporary relief, they don't get to the source of dry mouth and eliminate it. And some common remedies may actually do more harm than good. Let's take a look into what causes dry mouth and how to take the right action to get your saliva flowing again.
What is dry mouth?
Dry mouth (also referred to as xerostomia) is a common and very annoying issue millions of people suffer from each day. Dry mouth happens when your salivary glands don't make enough saliva to keep your mouth wet. If you’re not producing the right amount of saliva, that can lead to some real issues with your oral health!
Saliva is super important in keeping your mouth and teeth healthy. If you've already gotten your Wally custom kit, you know we test the “buffering capacity” of your saliva. Why? Because if your salivary glands aren’t producing enough saliva (low buffering capacity), that can lead to issues like increased plaque, tooth decay, gum disease, and even thrush.
Buffering capacity is your saliva’s ability to wash away acids and plaques while providing important minerals to strengthen your teeth. Your saliva also contains proteins and enzymes while also acting as a natural anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial in your mouth. Your saliva is really a jack of all trades for your mouth so if you think you’re experiencing dry mouth it’s important to not only find a solution, but to find out the root of the problem.
What negative effects can dry mouth have on me?
Dry mouth is no joke! If left untreated, can cause a whole host of problems including:
- Increased plaque
- Tooth decay
- Gum disease
- Increased cavities
- Burning mouth syndrome
Just as with any other concern you have with your health, we recommend that you are always upfront about any concerns you’re having with your mouth. More and more studies are showing direct links between our oral health and nothing should be left to chance. If you think you’re experiencing any issues, contact your dentist immediately.
What is causing my dry mouth?
Dry mouth can be caused by many different things. That's why your clinician asks about any changes to your health, medications, diet, and even lifestyle since your last check up.
Medication is a big culprit for dry mouth. Close to 700 medications list dry mouth as a symptom. Anti-anxiety, antidepressants, and antihistamines are three of the most common medications that cause dry mouth. In many cases people don’t know their medications could be the cause of their dry mouth.
Other things that cause dry mouth are sleep apnea, auto-immune diseases (Sjogrens being the most common), vaping, or something as simple as aging.
If you think you’re experiencing dry mouth, it's important to find a hygienist you trust to determine the source of your dry mouth and work with you to formulate a strategy to address your dry mouth safely and effectively.
What should I avoid if I have dry mouth?
Our team of clinicians all agreed - if you have dry mouth DO NOT suck on dry candy to address it! Yes, sucking on those lemon drops or Jolly Ranchers might get the saliva flowing temporarily. But as soon as that candy is done then your saliva glands will stop, but all that sugar will still be in your mouth.
That's a recipe for disaster since the sugars can just sit and eat away at your teeth leading to bad breath, cavities, and gingivitis. Now that we told you to put away the Dum Dums, we owe you a better way to address your dry mouth.
What can I do to help get my dry mouth on track?
Chat with your dentist or hygienist! Or, if you’re looking to do this from home, one of Wally’s hygienists is ready to help. They can work with you to understand your dry mouth needs and pick the right products to protect your mouth and get your saliva flowing again.
Get started with your free kit and one of our hygienists will work with you to put together a plan to wash away your dry mouth.