New Patients (336) 290-7401

Current Patients (336) 226-0855

3450 Forestdale Drive Burlington, NC 27215

Why Dry Mouth is a Big Deal

Many of us know why brushing and flossing our teeth is important for our oral health. However, there is more to your oral health than simply brushing and flossing. There is a condition that your dentist may call xerostomia or dry mouth. Unless dry mouth affects you, you may not understand why it is a big deal. Not only is it uncomfortable, but it can also damage your oral health

To keep your mouth healthy, you need to make sure that it is properly moisturized. 

Why Dry Mouth is a Big Deal

Saliva: More Than Just Moisture

Why do we have saliva? It is more than just a random fluid. It has a crucial function in your mouth and body. In fact, it plays multiple roles in your health. For example, saliva helps to naturally clean and cleanse the mouth after eating. It washes away food particles and debris, which reduces your chances of tooth decay. Saliva is essentially a natural defense for several oral health issues. 

The composition of saliva includes valuable minerals that protect your enamel. Within saliva, calcium, fluoride, and phosphorus help enamel maintain its strength. Even during acid attacks, saliva can help neutralize the damage. As a result, saliva can help resist tooth decay. Additionally, there are important enzymes in saliva that counteract harmful bacteria. This can lead to an overall healthier oral environment. 

Another vital role that saliva plays is in digestion. When you bite and chew food, you need saliva to help break down food further. If you have ever had a mouthful of crackers, you know how important saliva is. You need moisture to help you swallow your food smoothly. Also, saliva contains a vital enzyme that helps kickstart the digestion process. 

The Consequences of Dry Mouth

Without saliva, you can experience discomfort and several health issues. To begin, dry mouth can make you feel thirsty. It is a parched, uncomfortable sensation. This can make it hard for you to speak, eat, and swallow. Dry mouth can get in the way of social activities and encounters. Furthermore, dry mouth can cause bad breath. Having bad breath can lead to embarrassment or withdrawal from social functions. 

Not having enough saliva can cause several oral health issues. When you don’t have saliva, your oral biome can become imbalanced. This is because bad bacteria thrive in a dry environment. As a result, you will have more harmful bacteria causing damage to your mouth. This can increase your risk of cavities. With reduced saliva, you have a higher chance of tooth decay and enamel erosion. 

A lack of saliva aids in the production of bacteria. Unfortunately, this increases your risk of gum disease. Your gums need to stay moist to be healthy. Otherwise, they can become irritated and inflamed. 

Finally, reduced saliva can present nutritional challenges. You may have difficulty chewing and swallowing your food. As a result, it can affect the food you choose and your overall nutrition. It is possible to develop a nutritional deficiency due to dry mouth.