If you’re wondering how dry mouth can affect your dental health, especially if you live in the Colorado Springs, CO area where the weather is dry nearly year long, then this video interview with Colorado Springs dentist, Betty Jo Schope, DDS, is for you:
The things that affect our saliva can affect our oral health. So, if we’re having things that – maybe we’re having allergies or sometimes those can be both winter or spring kind of things. People get stuffier. They start to – maybe I need to take a decongestant. I could feel better if I could breath better. Well, that’s going to dry everything out. Not just your nasal cavities, but your mouth as well.
So, medication sometimes can also cause dry mouth. So, how it affects our oral health is in two ways. One is if our mouth is drier, the plaque or the build-up of food and bacteria that builds up in our mouth daily every 24 hours after you’ve brushed your teeth, it’s continued to build-up and in that plaque will be stickier and harder to clean off the next time you brush or you floss because it’s stickier. So, you have to spend more time when you have a drier mouth.
The second thing of it is that our saliva – if you know anything about chemistry, we have acid and base kind of stuff. I won’t get to technical, but the bottom line is our mouth is more acidic. If we’re more acidic, what do you think about acid? It can kind of etch things and so acid on our teeth can make the teeth more susceptible, more porous, more prone to cavities. It is how our teeth get cavities in the first place is that the bi-products of the bacteria in our mouths starts to chew little holes in our teeth. So, if we already have a dry mouth, and then we don’t have that effect of the saliva to make that pH level come back to normal, then it’s kind of a double wammy to the bacteria. It’s already having this party in there and we’re just kid of adding fuel to the fire with the dry mouth. So, that’s really one of the things of how we can be affected by it.
And then if you compound that, many patients are taking other medications that can cause that, too. So, you can have this additive domino effect. Patients that are on blood pressure medications or anti-depressants or other medications can have some of those issues as well. So, winter’s coming. Stay hydrated. It’s really important how many times we talk about hydration and getting humidifiers in the room and things like that. All those things can be very helpful.