Do you feel like you constantly need to drink water? Is it hard for you to swallow your food? Have you noticed a constant dry, scratchy throat? If so, you may have a condition known as dry mouth. Dry mouth occurs when your mouth doesn’t produce enough saliva.
While this may not sound like a big deal, dry mouth can negatively affect your oral health. Typically, it is not a condition that you can ignore and hope that it goes away. You will need to consult your dentist to understand its cause and seek treatment options.
People with dry mouth are more likely to develop tooth decay than others. This is because dry mouth can create more plaque within your mouth. Much like the rest of your body, your mouth is a delicate environment that houses many types of bacteria—both good and bad. If you maintain good oral health, you can achieve a healthy balance that doesn’t produce any negative effects.
However, dry mouth can upset the balance of bacteria in your mouth. This is because bad bacteria like plaque will multiply in a dry environment. The more plaque that is in your mouth, the more likely it is that you will develop tooth decay.
Similarly, dry mouth can increase your risk of developing gum disease. Gum disease is an infection of the gums that can cause bleeding, swelling, and deterioration of the tissues, teeth, and bones. Without treatment, gum disease can wreak havoc on your oral and overall health. It will continue to advance until you address the problem.
Because dry mouth causes more plaque, it can cause gum disease. One of the most common factors for gum disease is plaque. As plaque builds on your teeth, it can get underneath your gum line. Plaque irritates the gums, causing them to become infected. Additionally, your gums need to stay moist in order to remain healthy. If you don’t produce enough saliva, your gums may not stay moist enough.
Discomfort in Eating
When you eat, it is necessary to produce saliva for several reasons. First, saliva helps break down food. While your teeth physically break down food, saliva will break it down chemically. Additionally, saliva provides lubrication to your food.
Without saliva, eating food would be difficult and uncomfortable. For example, think of the feeling you have if you try to eat too many crackers at one time. The crackers feel like a paste, and it becomes almost impossible to swallow. This is how it can feel if you don’t produce enough saliva while you eat.
In addition, there is a chemical in saliva that is vital for the beginning stage of digestion. It helps kick-start the digestive process. Without it, your digestive system may not be as effective, which can impact your ability to get nutrients from your food.