How Dry Mouth Can Lead to Dental Damage By Louis Buono on December 05, 2017

A woman's smileAlso known as xerostomia, dry mouth refers to the lack of moisture in the mouth. Temporary and occasional dry mouth can affect people as a result of stress or as a side effect of certain medications. Dry mouth may also be caused by blockages in the salivary glands, advanced age, and dehydration.

While dry mouth is an annoying condition, it can do more damage than people may suspect. In fact, dry mouth is dangerous for a number of different reasons. The restorative dentistry experts at Garden City Smiles would like to consider the danger of dry mouth and how it impacts your dental health.

Dry Mouth and Periodontal Disease

People who suffer from dry mouth are more likely to experience issues with periodontal disease. Dry conditions in the mouth tend to exacerbate issues with gum disease since the oral bacteria thrives in such an environment.

Dry mouth causes gum disease to develop much quicker, progressing from gingivitis to periodontitis and advanced periodontitis at an accelerated rate. Dry mouth can result in irritated gums, bleeding gums, gum recession, and many other serious health issues. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss, the spread of infection to other parts of the mouth, and even dangerous oral abscesses forming along the soft tissue of the mouth.

Dry Mouth and Tooth Damage

In addition to making gum disease worse, dry mouth can also have an adverse effect on the progression of tooth decay and acidic erosion. With regard to tooth decay, a cavity may develop much faster due to dry mouth than it would if a person's mouth had a normal amount of saliva present. Acidic erosion refers to an acidic pH within the mouth, resulting in the wearing down of the tooth enamel.

Both of these conditions mean that the strength of a person's teeth is negatively impacted. In addition to fractures and worn enamel, the likelihood of chips, cracks, and other kinds of damage increases. The likelihood of a root canal infection also runs higher if the oral bacteria can access the dental pulp located inside of the tooth.

Treating the Damage Caused by Dry Mouth

Thankfully dentists have many options for treating periodontal disease, gum recession, and tooth damage.

  • Treating Periodontal Disease – When treating periodontal disease, the ideal course of action is to get the infection under control. Antiseptic rinses or medications can be used to achieve this. Antibiotics may be considered for more serious infections.

  • Treating Gum Recession – When treating gum recession, it's important to rebuild the gumline to protect the tooth roots and improve general dental health. This can be done through gum grafting, which uses donor gum tissue or artificial grafts to rebuild the gumline.

  • Treating Tooth Damage – When teeth are eroded, decayed, or fractured, the ideal option to consider is the use of dental restorations. Fillings, inlays, onlays, and crowns can help rebuild damaged tooth structure and protect the remaining tooth structure.

Treating Dry Mouth Itself

When it comes to treating dry mouth itself, several options are available. For one, a person may be asked to hydrate more. Simply drinking more water can work wonders for your health. For blocked salivary glands, sucking on sour candies can help force the obstruction out. There are also artificial saliva products available to help create more moisture in the mouth when needed.

All these options as well as others can be discussed in more detail during a consultation at our practice.

Learn More About Dry Mouth

If you would like to learn more about preventing and treating dry mouth as well as your many other options for advanced dental care, contact an experienced cosmetic and restorative dentist today. The entire team at Garden City Smiles is here to help you smile with renewed confidence.

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Louis J. Buono, DDS

Garden City Smiles Louis J. Buono, DDS

Dr. Buono has been providing leading smile care to his patients in Garden City and Long Island for over 30 years. He is proud to be affiliated with: 

  • Academy of General Dentistry
  • American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry 

You can request a consultation with our dentist by filling out our online form or calling (516) 294-0375.

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