Westchester NY Dentist Discusses the Effects of Dry Mouth
Many people have experienced a dry mouth at one point or another. However, for some patients dry mouth is a persistent and irritable oral health issue known as xerostomia. For these patients, the mouth and throat become dry and sore, eating and speaking become difficult and the sensation of taste is reduced. The oral health implications that dry mouth has on the mouth are vast and include the rapid and destructive breakdown of natural dentition, quicker than normal plaque deposit buildup, early signs of gingivitis, and pain during brushing.
Why we need saliva
Saliva is produced by both major and minor salivary glands which are all scattered throughout the mouth. Together, they are capable of producing up to one liter of saliva a day! The most obvious function of saliva is lubrication, which is what makes speech and eating possible. Another mechanical property of saliva is its binding ability, which enables food to be swallowed.
Important to dentistry, your saliva also protects against harmful proteolytic enzymes, which are largely produced by dental plaque. Saliva’s most important function is to the digestive system. The digestive enzyme pepsin found in saliva is what allows your food to be properly digested.
What can I do?
If you’re not getting enough saliva, there are a few tips that you can try at home. Start by drinking water to stay hydrated. Another tip is to try chewing sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free candy, which are both known to stimulate salivary glands.
If your dry mouth persists, you should contact your Westchester NY dentist. We will be able to recommend the best treatment plan for you, whether that involves a rinsing your mouth with artificial saliva. Artificial saliva is a liquid or spray that is sold without a prescription and can be used as often as needed. Although it doesn’t contain the proteins, minerals, and other substances found in real saliva that help with digestion.
If you have any questions for a Westchester NY dentist regarding dry mouth or need more information about why saliva stimulation is necessary for your mouth’s care, feel free to call us at (914) 939-2132 for an appointment today.