By Dr Mohammed Yusuf B.O.H, Dip of Dentistry
Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, is the subjective feeling of dryness in the mouth. It affects approximately 10% of the general population and is more common in older people.
There are many causes of dry mouth, including:
- certain medications
- mouth breathing
- radiation therapy
- autoimmune diseases such as Sjogrens syndrome
The feeling of dryness is usually attributed to insufficient saliva inside the mouth. Saliva is very important to oral health for several reasons including:
- buffering of acids preventing de-mineralisation of teeth
- contains calcium, phosphate and fluoride to help re-mineralise the teeth
- lubricates the mouth
- aids in digestion and swallowing of food
- has antimicrobial properties
Insufficient saliva in the mouth can led to an increase in plaque buildup around the teeth and gums, which can make you more susceptible to tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath. A dry mouth can also make it difficult to wear dentures.
Dry mouth is treated by treating the underlying cause. There are a few simple things that can be done to help relieve the symptoms of dry mouth. These include:
- 6 monthly dental checks and cleans
- chewing sugar free gum to help stimulate saliva production
- drinking plenty of water
- use of saliva substitute mouth rinses
- avoiding highly acidic food and drinks
- maintaining good oral hygiene
Speak to your friendly 1300SMILES dentist for more information.
Dr Mohammed Yusuf B.O.H, Dip of Dentistry, is based at our Toowoomba practice. He performs all aspects of general dentistry with a special interest in oral surgery and restorative dentistry. Dr Mohammed is very proactive in keeping up to date with the latest dental technologies.