Hello, Las Cruces! It’s time for another blog from the office of Advanced Dental of Las Cruces. For this installment, we are going to take a look at a common ailment that many dismiss as little more than an annoyance, dry mouth.
The Dangers of Dehydration
As you are surely aware, the human body is made mostly of water. So if you start to dry out, that is bad news for your health in general. But even slight dehydration, just enough to cause dry mouth can cause problems for your oral health.
Your mouth depends on saliva to fight off bacteria and to keep plaque from forming on your teeth. Plaque is a film of bacteria that forms on your teeth and turns sugar into teeth destroying acid. Normally, the saliva generated when you chew your food does a good job of repelling the bacteria; saliva actually has natural antibacterial properties that directly attack plaque forming bacteria. In addition to that, saliva loosens food particles that stick to your teeth. So they are easily rinse away when you drink water.
When you suffer from dry mouth, your teeth and gums do not have the protection they need to keep bacteria from doing harm. As a result, tooth decay and gum disease has a chance to get a foothold in your mouth, which could be disastrous for your oral health.
As you can see, dry mouth is more than an annoying problem. It is a serious threat to your oral health. Once you get a cavity, you are more likely to get more. And gum disease increases your chances of losing teeth. These oral health ailments can be treated at Advanced Dental of Las Cruces, but it is better to prevent them.
What Causes Dry Mouth
Not drinking enough water is the number one cause of dry mouth, and it is the easiest to treat and to prevent. Simply make sure you are drinking enough water. Usually, people become dehydrated when they do not plan ahead. For instance, you might spend a summer morning playing basket with friends, and forget to bring a bottle of water. A situation like this is not catastrophic, as long as you treat it soon. But the longer you go without moisture in your mouth, the longer bacteria has to damage your oral health.
The food you eat has a pretty strong effect on the moisture of your mouth, too. Foods that are high in salt, like snack chips and cured meats, will dry out your mouth. So if you don’t counter it with some water, your teeth could suffer. And don’t think that drinking a beer with your snacks keep you hydrated. the truth is alcohol does the opposite.
If your are on medication for any reason, you may find that you are experiencing dry mouth as a side effect. This is an unfortunate consequence to the chemical changes that happen as a result of taking medicine to treat illness.
What to Do about It.
For the most part, dealing with dry mouth is simple. Just drink more water. Plan ahead so that you never have to go thirsty. Make it a habit to keep a refillable bottle of water with you, and you will never have to worry about an impromptu workout damaging your smile.
If your dry mouth is the result of medication, some sugarless gum or hard candy may help you keep your mouth moist when drinking water isn’t practical.
And don’t forget regular visits to Advance Dental of Las Cruces to keep your teeth clean and healthy. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.