Dry Mouth & Dentures
Saliva plays a vital role in keeping our mouths happy and healthy. For most people, saliva isn’t something that crosses their minds often. However, people with dry mouth (also known as Xerostomia) understand the difficulties associated with a lack of saliva — it can be painful and make it difficult to eat and speak.
These problems can be exacerbated for denture wearers. The first few months of dentures can be a difficult transition for some, even without the issues posed by dry mouth conditions.
How can dry mouth be managed for denture wearers? Let’s examine the role that saliva plays in your mouth and how you can mitigate issues related to dry mouth.
Why Does a Healthy Mouth Need Saliva?
Saliva is produced by three larger and hundreds of smaller salivary glands located all around your mouth. Although saliva is mostly comprised of water, it also contains other important materials like mucus, minerals, proteins, enzymes, antibacterials, and more.
A healthy mouth produces between 0.75 and 1.5 liters of saliva everyday.
Without saliva, you can run into several health problems and other difficulties. Saliva works to lubricate your mouth for eating, promote digestion, kill germs and bacteria, reduce bad breath, combat cavities and gum disease, and heal your wounds.
In a healthy mouth, saliva is usually produced when eating — it can also be triggered by thinking about or smelling food!
Along with chewing, salvia plays a significant role in the first steps of digesting food. Saliva contains an enzyme called amylase which breaks down starch into more easily digested molecules known as maltose and dextrose.
It also lubricates the food, allowing it to move along the digestive tract smoothly.
What are the Impacts of Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)?
Without enough salvia, people find it challenging to eat and speak. It can be uncomfortable, and in extreme cases, even painful. A lack of saliva can also affect your ability to taste foods properly.
Xerostomia makes it difficult for your mouth to effectively clean itself. As a result the risk of cavities, infections in soft tissues such as the gums, cheeks, and tongue, and bad breath is significantly increased.
What are Some of the Causes of Dry Mouth?
Although certain health conditions can cause dry mouth, the most common cause we see at The Denture & Implant Centre is medications. This is especially true for older people, who are often on several medications for other conditions.
It can also be the result of stress, nervousness, or dehydration.
How Does Dry Mouth Affect Denture Wearers?
Dentures often rely on the moisture of your mouth to create an effective seal. Without saliva, your dentures are more prone to coming loose and rubbing — which can lead to the dentures falling out, discomfort, or friction sores in the mouth.
Think of dentures like suction cups — they stick much better when they’re moist.
What can be Done About Dry Mouth?
It’s important to speak with your oral health professional about what medications (if any) you’re currently taking. This will help create a more effective plan for managing dry mouth over the long term.
Saliva, being 98% water, cannot be properly produced if you’re dehydrated. Drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol, caffeine, acidic or carbonated drinks, and overly salty foods.
Smoking is also a significant contributor to dry mouth.
Lastly, maintaining good oral hygiene will help keep your mouth free from bacteria, tartar, and plaque — which thrive in dry environments.
If you’re struggling with dentures and dry mouth, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with The Denture & Implant Centre. Our team of friendly denturists have expert advice to guide you to long term success with dentures.