Do You Have Dry Mouth?
Dehydration and Dry Mouth can Affect Oral Health
If you only occasionally find yourself with a dry mouth, then it’s probably nothing to worry about. It’s just a natural sign of being thirsty. However, if a lack of saliva flow becomes a chronic condition, then it can become a dental issue.
That’s because saliva has an important function in the mouth. It provides lubrication when eating and chewing foods, and its enzymes begin the digestion process by breaking down food. Even when not eating, saliva keeps teeth protected. A healthy flow of saliva coats teeth and soft tissues, creating a protective barrier against bacteria and decay. For this reason, those with chronic Xerostomia (dry mouth) often experience bad breath as well.
There are several steps you can take if you experience chronic dry mouth:
- Stay Hydrated – Dehydration is a real danger, especially in the heat of summer or if working outdoors. Make sure to keep a bottle of water nearby and take water breaks often.
- At Night – Snoring or mouth-breathing while sleeping can also cause a dry mouth. If you find yourself with a dry mouth at night, keep a glass of water on your bedside table or try re-brushing your teeth to get saliva flowing again.
- Check Your Medications! – In older patients especially, many medications list dry mouth as a common side effect. Depending on your condition and the severity of your dry mouth, you may want to discuss other medication options with your doctor.
- Other Options – Chewing sugar-free gum is an easy way to stimulate saliva flow, and certain over-the-counter mouth rinses are designed for dry mouth. If the problem persists, there are also prescription medications available to treat the condition. Ask your doctor or dentist!
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Dr. Angela Burns moved to Austin 10 years ago and instantly fell in love with our beautiful city. Dr. Burns is originally from the Texarkana area. She attended Texas A&M for her undergraduate degree and The University of Tennessee Health Science Center for her degree in dental surgery (DDS). Dr. Burns is committed to providing her patients with gentle, technologically advanced dental treatment. She attends an average of 60 hours of continuing education every year. She is a member of the American Dental Association, the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, the Texas Dental Association, and the Capital Area Dental Society. Dr. Burns and her husband, Gary, have an 11-year-old daughter, Sydney, who is a proud 6th grader at Hill Country Middle School. She is also very involved in the Eanes PTO, her church, and loves raising her family in the Westlake community. “Growing up, I was drawn to mediating and helping others feel more included and less anxious. I was a camp counselor, student government officer and being the oldest of five, I was the family mediator. I found that I had a calling to help alleviate stressful situations for others and realized that being a good listener was something that was key to this. These skills really helped guide me into becoming a dentist that has based my practice on relationships, empathy and a sense of comfort. I knew that I wanted to provide an atmosphere that felt like home when others walked in. Our practice is small, personal and state of the art and we hope you feel like you’re hanging out with friends when you are here!” When she is not practicing dentistry, Dr. Burns enjoys traveling, hiking the greenbelt, enjoying Austin’s music scene, and eating Amy’s Ice Cream.