Dangers of Dry Mouth
By on April 23, 2012
To most people a dry mouth probably seems more like an inconvenience than a dangerous condition, but if left untreated dry mouth can cause severe damage to the gums and teeth. Saliva not only enables you to eat, chew, talk, and swallow, but it also acts as a natural cleanser for the mouth. Without sufficient saliva, bacteria, food particles, and acids within the mouth can eat away at the tooth’s surface, causing decay. Our Abilene dental patients who experience chronic dry mouth are more prone to gum disease, tooth decay, and infections. To prevent irreversible damage to the gums and teeth, it is important to seek treatment for dry mouth. During your dental consultation, Abilene cosmetic dentist Tim Simpson will perform a full dental examination in order to determine the cause of your dry mouth and the extent of damage to the gums and teeth.
What Causes Dry Mouth?
In order to prevent and treat dry mouth, it is important to understand why it occurs. There are many causes of dry mouth, including:
- Medications: certain over-the-counter and prescription medications used to treat a multitude of medical conditions including depression, anxiety, allergies, and colds, may cause dry mouth
- Medical conditions: certain medical conditions can contribute to dry mouth, including diabetes and Parkinson’s disease
- Tobacco use: tobacco use can cause dry mouth, bad breath, cancers, etc.
Dangers of Dry Mouth: Gum Disease
Gum disease (periodontal disease) is the infection of the tissues and bones that support the teeth. Gingivitis and periodontitis are the two stages of gum disease. Within the first stage, gingivitis, the gums are affected by gum disease. Fortunately, gingivitis can be treated before irreversible damage has been caused to the tissues and bones that support the teeth. One of the symptoms and causes of gingivitis is dry mouth. Gingivitis is caused by the build-up of plaque on the teeth and under the gumline. Saliva helps to break down and slow the formation of plaque. Good oral hygiene and professional dental cleanings are essential in the treatment of gingivitis. Because gingivitis is usually painless, it often goes unnoticed until our patients are undergoing routine dental check-ups. This is just one of the many reasons it is vital to undergo dental check-ups twice a year.
The second and most dangerous stage of gum disease is periodontitis. During this stage of disease, irreversible damage occurs in the tissues and bones that support the teeth. If left untreated, periodontitis can cause teeth to become loose and may even result in the loss of one or more teeth.
Dangers of Dry Mouth: Tooth Decay
Saliva provides natural protection against bacteria and acids found in the mouth. When there are not sufficient amounts of saliva produced, acids and bacteria in the mouth eat away at the enamel and, eventually, the dentin of the teeth. Tooth decay leads to the formation of dental caries. Dental caries (cavities) are permanently damaged areas in the tooth’s enamel and dentin that develop into small holes and crevices. These damaged areas require repairs, such as those provided by tooth-colored fillings and dental crowns. For our dental patients affected by severely damaged and decayed teeth in Abilene, dental crowns are an excellent way to restore strength, function, and aesthetics to the teeth.
Contact Abilene Aesthetic & Cosmetic Dentistry Today
To learn more about the effects dry mouth has on your dental health, please contact Abilene Aesthetic & Cosmetic Dentistry today.
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“I have used Dr Simpson for the last 20 years. I cannot say enough about how friendly, awesome and amazing he AND his staff are. I highly recommend him and his office! Amazing care and people!” Terri C.