Do you have dry mouth? It’s no secret that this condition, also known as xerostomia, can be inconvenient and uncomfortable.
Dry mouth can be caused by sleeping habits, certain medications, or even something as simple as a stuffy nose that forces you to breathe through your mouth. Dry mouth can also impact your dental health. Here’s how dry mouth can damage your teeth.
Everyone’s teeth come under attack from the bacteria that live inside the mouth. These bacteria are especially active after you eat sugar or starchy, high-carb foods such as white bread. When these harmful bacteria digest sugars or starches, they create corrosive acids.
As you can imagine, having these bacteria and the acids they produce sitting on your enamel isn’t good for your teeth. The acid can eat away at the structure of your enamel. So the role saliva plays in washing away the food debris and neutralizing the acids is critical, and dry mouth can allow bacteria more leeway to damage your teeth.
In addition to bacteria-produced acids, any acids in the food you consume can start to eat away at your enamel. That’s because acids are corrosive to teeth, pulling out the calcium, magnesium and other structural minerals that your tooth enamel uses to keep itself strong.
Dry mouth removes the saliva that can fight these acids. So if you have chronic dry mouth, it’s best to avoid these foods as best you can.
Saliva is your mouth’s tool to supply calcium, magnesium, and other critical substances to the outside of your enamel to help replace any minerals that leach out due to the contact from acid.
With dry mouth, you may not have enough saliva to provide the minerals that your teeth need for self-repair. In this situation, your teeth will gradually become weaker and more susceptible to cavities.
What To Do About Dry Mouth
Dry mouth isn’t something you should just suffer with, otherwise your dental health could suffer as well. Speak with your doctor or dentist about finding the cause of your dry mouth and remedying it.
And in the meantime, make sure you’re doing what you can to keep saliva production up:
- Drink extra water
- Try not to sleep on your back
- Chew sugarless gum to stimulate saliva flow
- Suck on sugarless candies
- Don’t smoke!
Visit your dentist for more helpful tips. And here’s to wet mouths!