Nobody wants dry mouth, but it’s especially troublesome for people undergoing orthodontic therapy. We work hard at Dr. Cynthia Wong’s Orland Park orthodontic office to make patients as comfortable as possible, and keeping the mouth lubricated is a major part of that. It’s also essential to oral hygiene, so let’s take a closer look at the effects of dry mouth.
Saliva neutralizes the acid produced by oral bacteria that causes tooth decay and gum recession. It contains enzymes that allow us to digest food and rinses the mouth of food debris, depriving oral bacteria of their food source. It also allows the lips to slide over fixed braces easily, reducing their risk of tearing. Dry mouth is officially known as xerostomia. It is common among smokers, people with autoimmune disorders, and as a side effect of medications and cancer treatment.
Simple ways of managing xerostomia include throat sprays and sucking on sugar-free candy. Some of these contain over-the-counter medication; prescription-strength xerostomia medications are also available. Orthodontic patients with dry mouth need to be especially vigilant in maintaining their oral hygiene. Patients undergoing Invisalign treatment may want to get a fluoride treatment. Our patients should also remember to stay hydrated and avoid sugary, acidic drinks such as soda and citrus juice.