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What Happens When Your Mouth Dries Out?

Posted on 6/10/2017 by Robert Leale
A patients mouth suffering from gum disease.
Saliva has a few important functions in your mouth. First, it gets the digestive process started, before your food even hits your stomach. It's lesser known job involves fighting against oral bacteria.

If you have insufficient saliva production, you may have a condition known as dry mouth, and this condition can lead to some significant oral health issues.

What Causes Dry Mouth?

If you have dry mouth, it's because your body is not producing enough saliva. There are several reasons this might happen:

•  Dehydration.
•  Certain medications.
•  Aging.
•  Breathing through your mouth (which is often caused by other issues such as a nasal problem or a misaligned jaw).
•  Lifestyle habits like smoking or drinking.
•  Cancer treatments.

Uncomfortable Feeling
One of the most obvious things that happens when you have dry mouth is an uncomfortable feeling in your mouth. Your mouth, as well as your throat, may feel sticky. You may have difficulty chewing, swallowing, tasting or even speaking. Your lips may crack and bleed. You may even experience a burning sensation in your mouth.

Bad Breath

Without sufficient saliva to kill the bacteria in your mouth, it continues to grow unchecked. One side effect of the excess number of oral bacteria is chronic bad breath.

Irritated Oral Tissues
The tissues in your mouth are sensitive. When they are dry, they are more likely to become irritated, and irritation leads to inflammation. Inflammation leaves your oral tissues more susceptible to bacterial infection.

Gum Disease

The higher numbers of oral bacteria in your mouth, coupled with already irritated and inflamed gum tissue put you at a higher risk for gum disease, and all of the complications associated with it.

Bacteria first attack your gums and eventually make their way under the gum line. Your gums may recede, your teeth can become loose and they can even fall out.

Dry mouth may cause several issues, but fortunately it is treatable. Contact our office dentist to figure out the cause and find the best solution for you.

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