Xerostomia and Root Decay

Jan 25th, 2012 | By | Category: General Dentistry, More dental news

We all suffer from “cotton mouth” on occasion—usually as a result of a stressful situation, such as public speaking—but what if you have a dry mouth all the time? Xerostomia, a persistent dry mouth caused by a lack of saliva, is a condition that can significantly alter your quality of life. This common condition can not only cause eating and speech difficulties, but it can also lead to more serious problems such as tooth loss. Here are the facts.

What causes a lack of saliva?

  • Underlying diseases such as diabetes, Sjogren’s syndrome, or lupus
  • Radiation to the head and neck
  • Dehydration
  • Anxiety
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine and carbonated drinks
  • Cigarettes
  • Trauma to the salivary glands
  • Medications such as amphetamines, antidepressants, antihistamines, and chemotherapy drugs
  • Recreational drugs such as cannabis, heroin, and methamphetamines

Can xerostomia affect my teeth?

As saliva has a protective effect on tooth enamel and oral mucosa, a lack thereof creates a breeding ground for bacteria. Allowed to run rampant, these bacteria can cause bad breath, gum disease, and tooth decay. Senior citizens and those taking xerostomia-causing medications are more likely to experience root decay than the rest of the population and should be vigilant with dental care. It is not uncommon for someone in this risk group to show new decay at each dental visit, so it’s vital to stay on top of the situation with regular checkups and cleanings.

Are there treatments for xerostomia?

The first course of action should always be preventive treatments, including the following:

  • Avoid sugar
  • Chew gum with xylitol, which inhibits oral bacteria
  • Drink lots of water
  • Restrict use of alcohol, caffeine, and carbonated drinks
  • Brush and floss regularly
  • Use a special mouth rinse formulated for dry mouth
  • Visit Dr. Moiceanu for regular dental checkups and cleanings

If your dry mouth symptoms do not abate with preventive measures or you think you have tooth decay, contact Dr. Moiceanu today at (510) 758-7222. With Hilltop Family Dental on your side, your xerostomia need not lead to more serious dental problems. We happily treat patients in Richmond, San Pablo, El Sobrante, Vallejo, Pinole, El Cerrito, Hercules, Benicia, and the surrounding areas.

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