When you ask someone to name a dental health problem, they’re likely to mention tooth decay, gum disease, or the loss of teeth. Some may mention root canal infections and dental fractures. Few would think of dry mouth first. Yes, it’s a problem, they may think, but is it really that serious? The fact of the matter is that dry mouth can be a major problem for a variety of reasons.
The team at our Palmyra restorative dentistry center would like to take a few moments to consider the various dental problems that are linked to dry mouth so you know to take the condition seriously.
What Is Dry Mouth?
Dry mouth refers to the lack of saliva in a person’s mouth. There are plenty of things that can cause dry mouth to occur, including stress, blocked salivary glands, and dehydration. Dry mouth may also arise due to advanced age, nerve damage, and the use of certain medications.
Most people experience dry mouth temporarily, and it is a mere annoyance. Yet there are a number of cases in which dry mouth is chronic and persistent. These long-term issues with dry mouth have to be taken seriously.
Risk of Tooth Decay and Acidic Erosion
Saliva helps with the process of remineralization, which is important for the strengthening of your teeth. If you suffer from dry mouth for a prolonged period of time, it can result in an increased risk of tooth decay and enamel erosion.
Risk of Gum Disease
Dry mouth doesn’t just increase the risk of gum disease. The condition is also associated with a greater risk of gum disease. The dryness in the mouth gives oral bacteria an ideal place to thrive. A combination of tooth decay and advanced gum disease can lead to major dental health issues.
Risk of Root Canal Infection
With the risk of tooth decay and gum disease much higher, the risk of a root canal infection increases as well. These can be quite painful conditions, and might lead to the spread of infection to other parts of the mouth if you are not careful.
Greater Likelihood of Tooth Loss
Given all of the above problems with tooth decay, gum disease, and root canal infections, it should come as no surprise that persistent dry mouth can increase the risk of tooth loss.
Potential Warning Sign of Oral Cancer
One of the biggest dangers of dry mouth is that it can be the symptom of major health problems. For example, dry mouth can be a one warning sign of oral cancer. If you suffer from dry mouth in addition to pain around the jaw or neck, swelling in that area, or lesions in the mouth, it’s important that you speak with your dentist or your general practitioner to have the issue looked at.
Learn More About Dental Health Issues
For more information about dry mouth and how dentists can help treat this condition, be sure to contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. The team at our practice is here to help you have a healthy smile.