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Can Dry Mouth Cause Oral Health Issues?

woman covering her mouth with her hand

Unfortunately, the answer to that question is yes! Dry mouth isn’t usually a sign of anything serious, but can sadly still wreak havoc on your teeth.

There are a variety of reasons why you might experience it, including dehydration, medication side effects, breathing through your nose at night, anxiety, Sjögren’s syndrome etc. The list goes on! Whatever the cause, we’re going to discuss the impact that dry mouth can have on your teeth, and look at ways you can prevent any damage.


a man touching his cheek, indicating that he has a tooth problem

How does dry mouth cause teeth damage?

Dry mouth (also known as xerostomia) is a condition caused by decreased amounts of saliva in the mouth when the salivary glands are not working properly. In terms of oral health, saliva is essential in maintaining a healthy environment for your mouth. As well as protecting your teeth against bacteria, it is also acts by neutralising acids and washing away food particles.

A decrease in saliva puts suffers at risk of long term dental issues such as tooth decay and gum disease, as well as potential tooth loss.


a glass with water getting poured into it, and ice cubes surrounding the glass

What can you do to help?

Drink plenty of water throughout the day. This may sound obvious, but if dehydration is the cause of your dry mouth, then making a conscientious effort to take regular sips of water could help to keep your mouth moist. To mix it up, you could even suck on ice cubes!

Buy a special mouthwash. There are certain mouthwashes that can create a ‘substitute saliva’, and help to maintain a healthy oral environment. Some of these are available to purchase over the counter, whilst certain ones are only available on prescription. If you’re unsure, you’re best talking to your dentist or GP about the different options.

Suck on sugar free sweets and chew sugar free gum. Chewing gum and sucking on sweets throughout the day are easy and effective ways to help your dry mouth. Why? Because both actions stimulate saliva production!

Discuss the effects of your medication. There are various medicines that can cause dry mouth, including antidepressants, diuretics, contraceptives and antihistamines. Whilst changing medication might not be an option for some people, others may have the chance to relieve their dry mouth by switching to a similar drug, but without the side effects. This is definitely something you should talk about with your doctor, especially if dry mouth is causing you serious discomfort and oral health issues.


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We hope this article has helped you understand the causes, effects and possible treatments of dry mouth. We know it’s unpleasant, but there are plenty of ways to deal with it.

Here at Leeds Dental Centre, we don’t just offer cosmetic dental treatments. We also offer general dental health care such as check ups, oral cancer screening, laser gum surgery as well as preventative care and oral health advice. If you would like to find out more or book an appointment, get in touch with us here.


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