Dry mouth occurs when the mouth does not produce enough saliva. Not only is dry mouth uncomfortable, but it may also cause damage to the gums and teeth. Saliva acts as a natural cleanser of the mouth. Sufficient amounts of saliva are necessary to rid the mouth of dangerous food particles and bacteria. When there are not sufficient amounts of saliva, the mouth cannot function the way it should. Saliva enables us to eat, chew, swallow, and talk. Dental problems, such as tooth decay and gum disease, are common in our patients experiencing dry mouth. Because your overall dental health can be greatly impacted by dry mouth, it is important not to underestimate the damage dry mouth can inflict on the gums and teeth. In order to determine the cause of dry mouth, our Livingston cosmetic dentist will perform a thorough dental examination. After the cause of dry mouth has been determined, a treatment plan will be tailored to your specific needs.

Should I Be Concerned About Dry Mouth?

At some point, you will experience dry mouth. Many illnesses and medications cause dry mouth. For most, dry mouth is only temporary and will go away rather quickly. While true for most, other patients experience chronic dry mouth. Because the effects of dry mouth can be quite damaging to the health of your teeth, dry mouth can quickly turn into a bigger issue. Chronic dry mouth can cause tooth decay and gum disease, which can result in the need for extensive dental treatments. For these reasons, it is important to seek treatment for dry mouth.

Dental Problems of Dry Mouth: Gum Disease

Gum disease (periodontal disease) is the infection of the tissues and bones supporting the teeth. The build-up of plaque is the most common cause of gum disease. The first stage of gum disease is gingivitis. In the early stage of gingivitis, the disease is often painless. Because gingivitis affects only the gums, damage caused by gingivitis can be reversed. For many of our patients, proper oral hygiene and regular dental cleanings are enough to rid the mouth of gingivitis. Symptoms of gingivitis include gums that bleed (especially during teeth brushing), red gums, and inflammation of the gums.  

The second stage of gum disease is periodontitis. This stage of the disease is extremely dangerous. Any damage to the gums and teeth cannot be reversed because the tissues and bones supporting the teeth are affected by periodontitis. Periodontitis and advanced periodontitis can cause teeth to shift and even fall out. In some instances, periodontitis necessitates the removal of affected teeth. Advanced periodontitis is the primary cause of missing teeth in adults. During periodontitis, plaque and tartar build up under the gumline, forming pockets in the gums between the teeth. Symptoms of periodontitis include gums that bleed easily, bad breath, shifting teeth, gaps between teeth, loose teeth, inflamed gums, purple or red gums, and a bad taste in the mouth.

Dental Problems of Dry Mouth: Tooth Decay

Dry mouth can cause severe tooth decay. Tooth decay is the process in which dental caries are formed. Without the cleansing effects of saliva, the bacteria and acids within the mouth start to eat away at the teeth, which leads to the formation of dental caries. Dental caries (cavities) are permanently damaged areas of the teeth that develop into small holes or crevices. Tooth decay is often painless until caries have formed in the teeth. When tooth decay has caused severe damage, dental crowns may be necessary. For our patients in Livingston, dental crowns are used to restore function and aesthetics to the smiles of our patients affected by tooth decay.

Contact the Silverstrom Group Today

To learn more about the effects of dry mouth and the resulting dental problems, please contact the Silverstrom Group today.