Submitted by: Dr. Scott Reader, DMD, PA, Your Hometown Dentist, One Senior Place Resident Business

Most people have had dry mouth from time to time, usually when they are upset, nervous, or under stress. If you have dry mouth all or most of the time, it can be uncomfortable and lead to serious health problems.

Dry mouth causes difficulties in tasting, chewing, swallowing and speaking. It can also increase a person’s chances of developing dental decay and other infections in the mouth. Certain medications and medical treatments may cause dry mouth. Dry mouth is not a normal part of aging. It is a condition of not having enough saliva to keep your mouth wet. Symptoms to look for are a sticky, dry feeling in the mouth, trouble chewing, swallowing, tasting or speaking. Also, if there is a dry feeling in the throat, cracked lips, a dry, tough tongue, mouth sores or an infection in the mouth, you may have dry mouth.

Saliva is important in the mouth because it does more than keep the mouth wet. It helps digest food, protect teeth from decay, prevent infection by controlling bacteria and fungi in the mouth, and it makes it possible for people to chew and swallow. Without enough saliva, tooth decay can develop or other infections may occur in the mouth. Proper nutrients may not get into the body if improper chewing and if swallowing of food is interrupted.

Dry mouth is caused when the glands in the mouth that make saliva are not working properly. Side effects of certain medications can cause dry mouth, along with certain diseases. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy can cause damage to the salivary glands. Nerve damage caused by an injury to the head or neck is another factor to cause damage to the salivary glands.

Depending on the cause of the dry mouth, treatments will vary. See a physician or dentist to find the cause of dry mouth. Tips for easing the discomfort include sipping water, avoiding drinks with caffeine, chew sugarless gum, don’t use tobacco or alcohol, use a humidifier at night. Beware that salty and spicy foods may cause pain in dry mouth.

 

Dr. Scott Reader is a family and cosmetic dentist, specializing in Lumineers and the revolutionary Snap-On Smile.  His office is located at 7185 Murrell Road in Viera.  All seniors may schedule for a complimentary consultation by calling the office at 321-253-9588 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Reader.

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