The Placerville Dental Group is pretty sure you don’t think too much about your saliva. Even though it’s an essential fluid and we need it for good oral health, it’s not really something we tend to meditate about, unless we seem to have too little or too much.
What is Saliva?
Saliva is made mostly of water, but contains other specific substances for lubrication, fending off microbes, and helping digestion. Dry mouth, or ‘xerostomia’ (zeer-oh-stomia), is a common condition where a person doesn’t make enough saliva. Hyper-salivation, a less common condition, is the production of too much saliva. If a person has hyper-salivation problems, it could indicate an oral infection, mouth ulcers, liver problems and even vitamin B deficiency. This condition is diagnosed by a dentist or physician and is usually treated with prescription medications or vitamin supplements. But what about dry mouth?
How is Dry Mouth Diagnosed?
Our Placerville dentists will discuss your medical history and take note of any medications you use before diagnosing dry mouth. An oral exam, along with a check of the salivary glands and ducts, is performed to find any tenderness, firmness or enlargement of the tissues. Some pharmaceuticals lead to dry mouth, including anti-hypertensive, anti-depressant, anti-histamine, anti-psychotic and some pain medications. The more drugs, prescription or otherwise, that you take, the higher your risk of developing dry mouth.
Treating Dry Mouth
Treating dry mouth is not difficult and is usually accomplished with over-the-counter saliva substitutes. For severe cases, a prescription may be recommended by the Placerville Dental Group. Patients with dry mouth syndrome have an increased risk of developing cavities, so it’s even more important for them to brush and floss daily.
To keep saliva production up and dry mouth symptoms at bay during the day, chew sugarless gum containing xylitol. Xylitol is a natural sugar substitute that doesn’t cause cavities. In fact, xylitol is believed to deprive oral bacteria of the “food” that leads to their rapid reproduction. So don’t ignore dry mouth and fight tooth decay with a complete oral care routine that includes dental visits at least every six months for the best oral health possible!