Even if you’ve only experienced dry mouth for a short while, you’re probably well aware of how uncomfortable it can be. Aside from discomfort, however, chronic dry mouth can seriously damage your oral health when left untreated. There are many things that can cause chronic dry mouth but, put simply, dry mouth occurs when saliva-producing glands don’t work as well as they should. As bad as dry mouth is, it’s important to know that it can be treated, even with home remedies.
Today, Advanced Indiana will be talking about the impact that chronic dry mouth can have on your oral health. As a dental practice, promoting oral health is our priority. To keep your oral health at its best, you need to understand what dry mouth can do if left untreated. Further, we’ll also be talking about how to treat chronic dry mouth from home. With this information, you can prevent chronic dry mouth and promote the best possible oral health.
How Does Untreated Dry Mouth Impact Oral Health?
When left untreated, dry mouth (also known as xerostomia) can lead to various health problems. With time, you are likely to experience changes in taste, difficulty swallowing, and even speech changes in the most severe cases.
Additionally, some people notice that cuts and cracks may form at the corners of their mouths. Chronic dry mouth can also cause a burning sensation on your tongue. Here are a few more problems that can be caused by untreated dry mouth, impacting your oral health:
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Improper denture fit
- Gum disease (gingivitis)
It’s important to remember that dry mouth can be caused by various things. Most commonly, chronic dry mouth is a result of infections, medications, dehydration, and cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation, which can damage the salivary glands. In most cases, dry mouth is resolved on its own within one to two months after the completion of chemotherapy. After radiation to the neck and head, however, dry mouth can sometimes last for six months to a year.
Treating Chronic Dry Mouth
To avoid the impact that chronic dry mouth can have on your oral health, it’s critical that you know how to treat the condition. Regardless of what has caused your dry mouth, there are multiple things you can do to treat it. Here are some of the most common methods of treating chronic dry mouth, all of which can be done right from home!
- Be Sure to Stay Hydrated
One of the absolute best ways to not only treat but prevent chronic dry mouth is by staying properly hydrated. Make an effort to drink sips of water throughout the day. Ideally, you should be drinking between 8 and 12 glasses of water daily. To make drinking water as convenient as possible, be sure to keep a water bottle next to you throughout the day so that you can sip on it frequently.
- Don’t Smoke or Use Chewing Tobacco
We all know that the use of tobacco can have serious effects on our health, but did you know that it can also make chronic dry mouth worse? One of the most important things you can do to treat chronic mouth is to discontinue the use of tobacco. Not only will this ease your symptoms, but you’ll also be promoting better health!
- Brush Your Teeth After Every Meal
Ideally, you should be brushing your teeth after each meal, and especially at bedtime. Additionally, if you’re currently undergoing radiation treatments that are causing dry mouth, you can also use a fluoride rinse to help prevent tooth decay. Finally, we recommend softening your toothbrush in warm water so that it is gentler on your gums. By keeping up with this, you’ll not only ease the symptoms of dry mouth but practice good oral hygiene.
- Moisten Your Food Before Eating It
Oftentimes, chronic dry mouth can make it difficult to chew and swallow food. If you have found this is the case in your situation, you can moisten dry foods before you eat them. Using broth, milk, or sauces where you can, you can make your food easier to eat. This is one of the best ways to relieve the discomfort caused by chronic dry mouth.
- Improve Your Oral Care
Finally, one of the best preventative measures you can take in regard to chronic dry mouth is practicing good oral care. Dry mouth can be both a symptom and a cause of poor oral hygiene. By improving your everyday oral routine, you can protect the overall health of your mouth and prevent chronic dry mouth. Make sure that you are flossing frequently, using mouthwash, and brushing your teeth with fluoride, if possible. With this effort, you may soon see the discomfort of dry mouth start to dissipate.
Make Your Oral Health a Priority and Eliminate Dry Mouth
Now that you know some of the best ways to prevent dry mouth, it’s time to take the necessary steps to keep yourself in good oral health. By keeping regular appointments with your local dentist, you can more effectively care for your oral health. We highly encourage you to reach out to Advanced Indiana to book an appointment today. Your health is our priority and we’re here to answer all your questions and address all your concerns. Contact us today!
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