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How Dry Mouth Can Cause Cavities

Posted on 12/5/2022 by Dr. Anthony Hoffman
How Dry Mouth Can Cause CavitiesDry mouth is also called xerostomia, and it is a medical condition when a person can't keep enough saliva in their mouth, so it becomes very dry. Anyone is susceptible to this condition, and when it is left untreated, It can make talking, chewing, and swallowing challenging. Dry mouth can also increase the risk for infections and tooth decay and is the most common cause of cavity formation.

Dry Mouth Culprits

When you don't drink enough water and stay hydrated, dry mouth is the result. Dry mouth can happen temporarily when you are stressed and nervous, such as speaking or performing in front of people. Dry mouth is caused by a medication side effect a lot of the time. Many medications cause the salivary glands to produce less saliva than they should. Medications prescribed for blood pressure, pain, allergies, depression, muscle spasms, anxiety, and Parkinson's disease can cause dry mouth. Some conditions can also cause dry mouth, such as AIDS, diabetes, cancer, autoimmune diseases, and Sjogren's syndrome. Salivary glands can also be affected during treatments for chemotherapy and radiation and cause dry mouth.

The Connection Between Dry Mouth and Cavities

Tooth decay causes cavities. Tooth decay is caused from plaque. Plaque contains acid, and this eats away at the tooth's enamel and creates holes in the teeth called cavities. Dry mouth can increase a person's chances of getting cavities because of the impeded saliva production. Less saliva production means food debris is left in the mouth after eating and drinking. The enzymes found in saliva cant break down food well enough and get stuck in your teeth easier. Saliva also contains phosphate, bicarbonate, and calcium, which neutralize plaque acidity and help protect tooth enamel. Without enough saliva, your mouth is more at risk for cavity formation and tooth decay. Dry mouth also causes other issues as well. Untreated, dry mouth can lead to health issues such as fungal infections, hoarseness, dry nasal passages, trouble speaking, and chewing, and swallowing food.
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