Dry Mouth: Teething Troubles

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Oral hygiene is most essential and basic for healthy living.  There are many facts we need know about keeping our mouth clean and healthy.  Unless we know the facts even a simple toothbrush can frighten us!

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  • Do you know that our toothbrush is home to more than 100 million bacteria including E. coli and staphylococci (Staph) bacteria? (Researchers from University of Manchester in England report).
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham found that faecal germs were on your toothbrushes too.
  • Don’t panic. Your mouth is also full of bacteria!

Saliva is the best lubricant:

  • Lack of saliva causes the skin in and around the mouth to become dry and tight.
  • Lips may become cracked, and sores might form at the corners of your mouth.
  • Your tongue can feel rough and dry as well.
  • You might have trouble swallowing or difficulty speaking without the lubrication that saliva provides.
  • Without saliva, it’s also hard to taste food because saliva carries the flavors in food to nerve cells in the mouth and throat.

Causes for dry mouth:

  • Saliva may not flush your mouth of food particles and debris regularly, it’s common to develop persistent bad breath.
  • Dry mouth causes hoarseness or a tickle in the throat.
  • More than 400 types of medications can cause dry mouth.
  • It can also be a result of medical treatments such as radiation for certain cancers, which can damage salivary glands.
  • Chemotherapy sometimes causes saliva to thicken and make the mouth feel dry.
  • Dry mouth can be related to nerve damage from a head or neck injury. Certain nerves carry messages between the brain and the salivary glands. If these nerves are damaged, they might be unable to tell the salivary glands to make saliva.
  • Dry mouth can be caused by a medical condition called Sjögren’s syndrome. Sjögren’s is an autoimmune disorder in which white blood cells called lymphocytes attack the body’s tear and salivary glands. This leads to dry eyes and dry mouth, the most common symptoms of Sjögren’s syndrome.
  • Dry mouth also occurs in patients with diabetes and HIV/AIDS.

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  • Smoking cigarettes, cigars, and pipes or using other tobacco products, even smokeless ones, can aggravate dry mouth.
  • Alcohol and caffeine can also be drying agents.

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  • A lack of saliva can be harmful to your teeth.
  • Regular dental checkups are essential if you have dry mouth.
  • Faithfully floss and brush your teeth every day in order to remove food and bacteria. If you can’t brush after eating, rinse your mouth.
  • Sip water frequently throughout the day and use alcohol-free mouthwash or dental products.

Other Tips to Help Dry Mouth:

  • Sipping water frequently (but not sugary  acidic, or caffeinated drinks)
  • Drinking water or milk with meals increases moisture and helps with chewing and swallowing.
  • Seeping in a room with a humidifier  decreases dry mouth symptoms.
  • Seeing your dentist for regular cleanings and exams.

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