Saliva is made by the salivary glands and is very important for a healthy mouth. It moistens and breaks down food, washes away food particles from the teeth and gums, and helps people with swallowing. In addition, saliva contains minerals such as calcium and phosphate that help keep teeth strong and fight tooth decay.
Dry mouth, also called xerostomia (ZEER-oh-STOH-mee-ah), is the condition of not having enough saliva to keep the mouth wet. When dry mouth persists, it can make chewing, swallowing, and even talking difficult. Dry mouth also increases the risk for tooth decay or fungal infections in the mouth because saliva helps keep harmful germs in check.
Dry mouth can be caused by medications, cancer treatments, or simply age. It can quietly destroy teeth, causing rampant decay and destruction of tooth enamel, sore gum tissue under dentures, altered speech, and thirst.
Dr. Gene McCormick, DDS in Tulsa, Oklahoma recommends some of the following treatments: H20-based lubricants applied regularly, frequent sips of water, oral rinses or gels, humidifier use at night, decrease caffeine/alcohol consumption, use of Xylitol mints and gum, Rx for saliva production. For more information and help with your dry mouth, call Dr. Gene McCormick’s office today for a complimentary assessment.