The medical term for dry mouth is xerostomia, which is the condition where your body produces very little saliva. Saliva is your body’s rinsing agent that helps to remove bacteria from your mouth. There are many possible causes for dry mouth, such as: hormonal changes, advanced age, autoimmune diseases, certain medications, chemotherapy, and lifestyle factors. Smoking, drinking alcohol or large amounts of caffeine can all be lifestyle habits that cause dry mouth. Chronic dry mouth can lead to increase of bacteria to stay inside your mouth. An overpopulation of bacteria can lead to bad breath, tooth decay, and gum disease. Dry mouth and the increased bacteria can create an inhospitable environment for a dental implant.
Restorative prosthesis, like crowns or dentures, that sit atop of dental implants are not susceptible to tooth decay like your natural teeth. However, your gums that support implants or restorations can face problems. The bacteria that thrives in a dry mouth can possibly cause a rare complication known as peri-implantitis. Peri-implantitis is the inflammation and infection of the gum tissue surrounding a dental implant. The bacteria involved in peri-implantitis is very similar to that involved with periodontitis, severe gum disease. Ultimately, it could lead to a loss of the dental implant and the restoration that it supports. Treating dry mouth can limit the bacteria, which can lead to peri-implantitis.
It is important first to determine what could be causing your chronic dry mouth. You and your dentist can discuss possible reasons that it may be occurring. If you think it may be lifestyle changes, you may find that cutting back on sugar, caffeine, or alcohol can help. Quitting smoking can help, and it is good for your overall health. You may talk to your doctor or dentist about certain supplements or rinses that may help, if you determine that certain medications may be the cause. A humidifier in your home can provide relief. Chewing on sugar-free gum, sucking on ice chips, or sipping on water can all be ways to induce saliva. You want to keep rinsing away that bacteria.
Dry mouth can lead to complications with your dental implant. To schedule a consultation with Austin Prosthodontics in Austin, TX, call 512-250-9444. We also proudly welcome patients from Cedar Park, Round Rock, Pflugerville, Leander, and all surrounding Texas communities.