Often, patients have a hard time differentiating between smaller concerns and larger ones. One such area is the area of dry mouth. Sometimes, these changes can take years to occur, or maybe you have never produced enough saliva.
But this can have serious lasting implications to the health of your smile. Today, your Cerritos, CA dentist speaks to you on how to confront this condition.
It’s Just A Nagging Thing
A mouth that is not producing enough saliva becomes significantly more at risk of damage and infection. Saliva itself is a highly antimicrobial and antibacterial fluid, full of enzymes designed to protect the mouth. By removing this level of protection alone, the mouth is in immediate danger.
Beyond that, bacterial and fungal growth are allowed in a more unimpeded manner when there is less saliva. The fluid will manually wash away bacteria, as well as lingering food particles within the mouth. Tooth decay is much more likely to occur in a dry mouth than a healthy one.
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is much more prevalent in mouths without enough saliva. Gum recession is likely, which leaves more of the tooth exposed, often allowing the root to show. When this occurs, the root often becomes infected. If this happens, a root canal is most likely necessary.
A dentist must perform a pulpectomy, where the fleshy interior of the tooth is removed. This effectively renders the tooth dead, leaving only the hard structure. A crown is often placed over the top for support.
Dry mouth can be a symptom of many different medical issues, and identifying the cause may very well help find a solution.
Many prescriptions can lead to a drier mouth than normal. So if this is occurring, be sure to let both your doctor and your dentist know. This way if a change is necessary, both are informed of the alterations.
Certain illnesses and conditions can also affect the amount of saliva our bodies produce. For people with diabetes, HIV/AIDS, or other autoimmune diseases like Sjogren’s syndrome, it might feel like a constant battle to maintain an appropriate level of saliva. We understand the frustration and want to help you find that balance.
If you use tobacco or alcohol, those may be contributing factors to your condition. As oral health professionals, we have to advise you to avoid these products whenever possible, as they can lead to many different issues within the mouth.
And as always, be sure to visit your dentist frequently. It may seem easy to put off an exam, but in the long run, you will benefit immensely!
ABOUT YOUR CERRITOS, CA, ORAL SURGEON:
Dr. Shawn Hofkes and the staff at Cerritos Dental Surgery are highly qualified to address complex issues, including those that require oral surgery to correct. To schedule an appointment or consultation with Dr. Hofkes, contact us today by calling 562-584-4082. We proudly welcome patients of all ages from Cerritos, CA, and all surrounding communities, such as Lakewood, Long Beach, Buena Park, and more.