Costly Consequences from Dry Mouth

By:Donna Pleis

Drymouth(Toastface)When you have a lack of saliva in your mouth — you know it. Not only does your mouth feel as arid and dry as a desert, but speaking, eating, and swallowing becomes difficult and sometimes painful. Most cases are temporary in nature, but many people suffer from constant dry mouth, which is not only uncomfortable, but it can result in serious dental complications and the need for pricey dental treatments.

If you are struggling with dry mouth, understanding the cause and how to deal with it can help you prevent serious dental disease. And to ensure that necessary dental treatments don’t negatively affect your bottom line, purchasing a dental discount plan is like money in the bank.

Origins of Dry Mouth

Not drinking enough liquids during the day or after strenuous exercise can create short-term dry mouth, as can stress and extreme nervousness. Although, there are a number of other conditions that can interfere with saliva production, causing chronic dry mouth.

  • Medications, such as antidepressants, pain killers, antihistamines, and diuretics, are among the estimated 400 prescription and nonprescription drugs that can cause dry mouth, according to the Academy of General Dentistry.
  • Illnesses, like Sjögren’s syndrome, diabetes, and other autoimmune diseases, affect saliva production, as does AIDS, cancer of the salivary glands, chemotherapy, and alcoholism.
  • Radiation therapy to the neck or oral cavity can damage the salivary glands, causing long-term dry mouth.

Complications of Dry Mouth

Saliva contains enzymes that start the process of digestion, but it also lubricates your mouth and cleanses bacteria and food from your teeth and gums. Without enough saliva, bacteria can quickly accumulate, leading to bad breath, gum disease, and tooth decay. In addition, a dry environment in your mouth can put you at risk for mouth sores, fungal infections, and a painful disorder called burning mouth syndrome.

Dealing with Dry Mouth

You can temporarily relieve dry mouth by sucking on sugar-free lozenges or chewing sugarless gum, and it helps to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. And dentists often recommend using artificial saliva products, which are sold over-the-counter at pharmacies. The Academy of General Dentistry considers acupuncture a viable treatment option, since it has the potential to increase the amount of saliva produced, especially when dry mouth is due to head and neck radiation treatment. When suffering with dry mouth, it also helps to avoid salty, acidic, and dry foods, as well as caffeine, smoking or using chewing tobacco, and drinking alcohol.

Helping Dry Mouth with a Dental Discount Plan

Good tooth brushing and flossing habits are a must if you want to prevent dental complications from dry mouth. And scheduling regular dental checkups and cleaning appointments allows your dentist to detect and treat small dental problems before they become more serious and costly problems. However, when you purchase a dental discount plan and schedule with a dentist who participates in the plan, these necessary dental appointments become much more affordable. Whether you need preventative services or treatment for dental decay or gum disease, a discount plan can save you up to 50% of the total cost. And unlike traditional dental insurance, there are no deductibles, yearly plan maximums, or excluded services to worry about.

Click on the link to the right to access a Confident® dental discount plan through Careington® and a list of participating dentists. Any of the Careington® dentists can help you manage your dry mouth symptoms, as well as ensuring you a healthy mouth for a lifetime at a fraction of the cost.