Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, is a condition that is marked by low saliva production. While a dry mouth makes it difficult to speak and swallow, it can also put your oral health in danger. In fact, your saliva does much more than you think in terms of protecting your teeth and gums.
The Role of Saliva in Dental Health
There is good reason why our bodies naturally produce saliva. Saliva can aid in digestion and help break down food, but it also acts as a natural preventative treatment for your smile each day. Delta Dental gives us some primary roles that saliva can play towards your oral health:
- Protects against harmful oral bacteria. Saliva forms a thin barrier on your teeth that can protect them against decay causing bacteria and it contains antimicrobial agents that can actually kill disease-causing bacteria. Saliva also helps rinse away food particles that bacteria would otherwise feed on. In result, we need our saliva to combat decay, gum disease and oral infections.
- Saliva neutralizes acids. When the mouth becomes an acidic environment, the enamel on your teeth can break down or weaken. Not only does saliva help neutralize the pH of your mouth, but it can even repair damaged enamel. Saliva contains calcium, phosphorous, fluoride and other minerals that can help remineralize your teeth and keep them strong!
Treating a Dry Mouth
Now that you realize what proper amounts of saliva can do for your oral health, it is easy to understand the dangers of not having enough, such as when you have dry mouth. When saliva production is too low, you are at risk for cavities, gum disease, bad breath and digestion problems. Unfortunately, there are many things that can cause a dry mouth, including certain medications, dehydration, cancer treatments, Sjögren’s syndrome, diabetes, mouth breathing and smoking.
Regardless of the cause of your dry mouth, it is important that you seek relief from your dentist. At West Hill Family Dental, we can offer effective remedies for your dry mouth condition. In addition, we can monitor your oral health more closely if your xerostomia is something you can’t control. This may include more diligent oral hygiene efforts and more frequent dental visits. Call today to schedule your appointment. We treat the entire family in one place!
Posted on behalf of West Hill Family Dental