Dental Health

Xerostomia: Risks of having dry mouth

Saliva plays a key role for a healthy mouth. The reduction in salivary flow, which may be due to reasons such as stress or taking certain medications, makes us more vulnerable to developing oral health problems, including tooth decay or gingivitis.



Although not a disease in its strict definition, called xerostomia may itself constitute a disorder that hinders such everyday actions and simple as talking, eating or swallowing.

Moreover, as experts warn in oral health, dry mouth can steadily reduce the sense of taste and constitute a difficulty to chew properly. Find out why having a dry mouth can be a problem and what are its symptoms.

More than a disease, but carries its consequences, it is a sensation of dry mouth, caused by reduced salivary flow (Hyposalivation). The cause may be a malfunction of the salivary glands, of which we have three responsible for manufacturing the saliva, which plays a much more important role than we think.

These three glands are called parotid, submandibular and sublingual gland. Among the most common symptoms of xerostomia is burning sensation on the tongue, feeling of dry mouth, cracks in the corners of the lips, thirst sensation, or in the case of the elderly or those using dentures difficulties to use it.

What happens when the glands produce less saliva? Dry mouth makes it difficult for us to perform actions such as talking or eating.

Why it is produced? It may be a temporary or occasional dryness, produced for example by an episode of stress or anxiety, or the ingestion of certain drugs (anti-inflammatory pills to control hypertension, allergy and some drugs for depression, etc.).

But it can also be a irreversible drought, in which case requires another type of diagnosis and treatment, as it may be due to atrophy caused by age.

Some autoimmune disorders such as lupus or Sjogren’s syndrome, or certain pathologies such as diabetes also have been linked to this problem of our oral health.

Functions of Saliva

Saliva is essential to have a healthy mouth. Did you know, for example, that saliva plays a protective role? Inflammations, bleeding gums, tooth decay or halitosis (bad breath) are some of the oral problems that can result from an alteration in salivary flow.

This, among other consequences, leads to our mouth is less clean, increasing their vulnerability to the emergence of dreaded cavities and other disorders or periodontal diseases such as gingivitis. A minor salivary flow also occurs a greater accumulation of dental plaque.

Saliva also helps neutralize the PH produced after eating, protecting the enamel tooth. One tip, do not forget to brush your teeth before bed, because during the night decreased salivary flow and our mouth is most vulnerable, for example cavities.

Visit also: 10 hidden enemies of tooth enamel

Saliva also facilitates chewing and digestion of food, at the time that is part of the sense of taste.

If you suffer any of the symptoms listed should consult a doctor or dentist, to certify or dismiss the xerostomia. Among the recommendations for prevention, plus extreme oral hygiene, include chewing food thoroughly; avoid the habit of tobacco and consumption of alcoholic beverages and going to the dentist on a regular basis.