Is Dry Mouth Damaging Your Smile? The Chapel Hill, NC General Dentist Explains Why It’s Happening and How We Can Help

by Dr. Diane Hourigan | Date Published: 2017-11-07

Do you have dry mouth? Aside from being annoying and uncomfortable, chronic dry mouth can also impact your oral health.

If you experience dry mouth, one of the first things you should do is consult your Chapel Hill, NC general dentist. Having sufficient saliva in your mouth is essential because it acts like a natural cleansing rinse because it contains compounds that kill bacteria in the mouth. Saliva is beneficial because it washes away these bacteria as well as food and other debris on which the bacteria feed.

Reasons for Dry Mouth

  • Medications – Record numbers of people now take prescription medications regularly for conditions like hypertension, depression, anxiety, allergies, pain and more. A common side effect of these medications is dry mouth.
  • Medical Conditions – Dry mouth can also be related to certain medical conditions including HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, anemia, and hypertension.
  • Dehydration – Another common cause of dry mouth is, not surprisingly, dehydration. You might suffer from dehydration if you have the flu, a high fever, or if you exercise and sweat profusely.

How We Treat Dry Mouth

How your dentist treats dry mouth depends on the cause. Obviously, if your dry mouth is due to dehydration, drinking plenty of water quickly rehydrates the body, including your mouth. Since many cases of dry mouth are related to prescription medications, your doctor might adjust the dose of the medication you're taking. They may also prescribe a medicine that encourages saliva production.

A diligent routine of proper oral hygiene is essential to help remove bacteria that builds up as a result of dry mouth and results in decay. These bacteria are also a breeding ground for infection and periodontal disease.

Please Call the Chapel Hill, NC General Dentist

Dry mouth should be addressed sooner rather than later, so please call our office to arrange an exam and cleaning appointment. We will provide you with the tools you need to keep your smile healthy and free of disease.