How Does Dry Mouth Cause Cavities?

Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, occurs when saliva production is slowed or halted due to a number of different factors. In addition to causing discomfort, this issue could also lead to poor oral health, increasing the risk of gum disease and dental cavities. In today’s blog, your Independence, MO, dentist talks about the causes of dry mouth and discusses possible solutions!

The Dangers of Dry Mouth

Our saliva helps protect our smile from poor oral health by essentially rinsing away stray food particles. We then further assist this process by brushing and flossing our teeth daily. However, when you have dry mouth this means that your salivary glands are not producing the saliva needed to help safeguard your smile against the impacts of acid and plaque buildup. As a result, these factors could begin to weaken and erode enamel, exposing the sensitive inner structure to bacteria and allowing cavities to form. In addition, the gums could become inflamed and become more susceptible to gingivitis and gum disease.

Possible Causes

What causes xerostomia to develop? A number of factors could lead to trouble, such as excessive alcohol consumption, certain medications or illnesses, diseases that harm your salivary glands, chemotherapy and radiation treatments, and any injures that damage the nerves your salivary glands. Cigarette’s and other tobacco products can also lead to xerostomia, as well as an increased risk of oral, lung, and throat cancer.


First, to help deprive harmful oral bacteria of a meal when you have dryness, we suggest cutting back on sugary and starchy foods, as well as beverages with a high amount of sugars or acids. Make sure you continue to brush your teeth twice daily and floss thoroughly each day to remove stray food particles. Be sure you drink plenty of water and also, try chewing sugar-free gum or gum with Xylitol, a naturally-occurring sweetener derived from the bark of birch trees. When we chew gum, this helps promote saliva production, so choosing sugar-free options means the benefits of improved saliva production without the danger posed by sugars. If you have any questions about improving your oral health and avoiding the risks of tooth decay and gum disease, then please contact our team today to learn more.

Do You Have Questions About Preventive Dental Care?

We would like to help protect the health and beauty of your smile with preventive and general dental care. With better oral hygiene at home and routine visits to our office for checkups and cleanings, we can help you enjoy a better smile. To learn more about our preventive treatments, then schedule a consultation by contacting Independence Family and Cosmetic Dentistry in Independence, MO, today at 816-350-0808. We also proudly serve patients who live in Independence, Lee’s Summit, and all surrounding communities.