Did you know that dry mouth could have far-reaching effects on your oral health? In fact, dry mouth – also called xerostomia – can increase your risk for dental caries. Moisture and saliva play an integral role in maintaining a healthy pH in the mouth along with neutralizing acid and rinsing away food debris and bacterial colonies. When the mouth is dry, patients’ oral health suffers. This is because soft tissues dry out and become inflamed while harmful bacteria thrive and colonize throughout the mouth – especially along teeth and gums. Those with xerostomia have an increased risk for developing tooth decay. If you have persistent dry mouth, our team recommends that you discuss your symptoms with our dentist.
How Dry Mouth Contributes to Tooth Decay
Tooth decay is a very common oral health condition that requires professional care to stop the cavity from worsening. Without adequate moisture, food and bacteria linger within the grooves of teeth and in between them. If saliva doesn’t dilute and rinse away debris, bacteria will feed on food particles and eventually colonize to form plaque – a semi translucent film that coats teeth and gums. Acid is a byproduct of bacterial colonization and it will weaken the protective coating around teeth (tooth enamel). Weakened tooth enamel and an acidic environment in the mouth are ideal for the formation of dental caries.
Why Dental Restorations are Necessary
Since teeth cannot repair themselves after damage, a dentist must treat tooth decay to restore oral function and prevent further damage to dental structures. Minor tooth decay is most often treated by placing a filling. A filling is a small restoration that fills in the pit created by the cavity and protects tooth structure from further damage. Advanced decay may require larger restorations such as an inlay or dental crown.
If you suffer with dry mouth, we recommend that you discuss your symptoms with our team. Many times, dry mouth can be remedied by increasing water consumption and reducing sodium intake. To schedule a checkup or cleaning with our dental team, call our office today.