Dry mouth or xerostomia is a dental condition signified by an insufficient amount of saliva in the mouth. Producing a small amount of saliva may not sound problematic, but saliva has many functions. First, it keeps your mouth moist so that you can talk comfortably as well as taste, chew, and swallow food. Saliva also has proteins and minerals that protect our teeth enamels from tooth decay. Saliva has an alkaline pH which neutralizes the harmful acids emitted by plaque-causing bacteria in the mouth.
So, a lack of saliva makes it hard to chew or swallow food. Other dry mouth effects include bad breath, tooth decay, and gum disease. Even simple tasks like talking become uncomfortable if you are experiencing dry mouth. You may even end up with cracked lips, dry throat and mouth sores, or a sore tongue. Try and imagine how you would feel if your mouth was completely dry. It is an uncomfortable feeling whereby you would be craving some moisture for relief.
Many of us have experienced dry mouth after a dental visit. Read on to discover what causes dry mouth after dental work and how to prevent and treat it.
What Causes Dry Mouth After Dental Work?
Saliva can get in the way of a dentist’s tools when they conduct procedures like dental fillings or extractions. To prevent inconvenience, dentists dry out their patients’ mouths using rubber dams, air tubes, or cotton wool. This allows the dentists to complete their treatments without saliva getting in their way. But drying out a patient’s mouth leads to a dry mouth for a few hours after the dental procedure.
So, it is normal to experience a bout of dry mouth after dental implants or other dental procedures. But if you are still experiencing dry mouth a few days after the surgery, you may need to see your dentist. Prolonged dry mouth after a dental procedure may lead to complications like tooth decay and gum disease. Your dentist will be able to identify the problem and prescribe a treatment to reverse the condition.
How To Prevent and Treat Dry Mouth
How can you prevent yourself from getting dry mouth after dental work? Well, those that are in good health will only have dry mouth for a few hours after dental treatment. Their salivary gland will naturally produce the saliva that had been sucked out from their mouths by the dentist.
So, ensure that you drink between 1 to 2 liters of water a day to prevent dehydration. You should also eat a healthy balanced diet and avoid alcohol, caffeine, and smoking. All these have a drying effect on the mouth. If you live in a dry area and tend to sleep with your mouth open, try sleeping with a humidifier at night. This will ensure that the air you breathe in is moist and doesn’t dry out your mouth.
And what can you do if you are experiencing dryness in your mouth after a dental visit? A dry mouth quick fix is simply to drink water. The moisture will immediately relieve any dryness and discomfort. You can also chew sugar-free xylitol gum or suck on sugar-free sweets. This stimulates your salivary glands to produce more saliva and relieve dry mouth. Another treatment would be to spray your mouth with artificial saliva or dental sprays.
Final Word on Dry Mouth After Dental Work
Saliva gets in the way of dental procedures, so dentists dry out the mouth before performing any dental work. This means that you may experience dry mouth for a few hours after a dental procedure. If the condition lasts longer than a day you should ask your dentist to check if there is an underlying problem. Chronic dry mouth could be detrimental to your dental health as it causes tooth decay and gum disease.
Maintaining proper hygiene of brushing and flossing teeth will help prevent tooth decay even if you have a dry mouth. For more information about how to manage dry mouth read our comprehensive guide on the condition.