How Xerostomia Affects Braces & Invisalign (What is Xerostomia)

Last Updated on February 22, 2022 by Gio Greenard

Your new braces may be giving you a new sensation. Dry mouth is common when wearing braces. Called Xerostomia in medical terminology. Dry mouth affects many who have a mouth full of metal and rubber bands or Invisalign aligners. It is not dangerous but can affect your oral health. Read on for the full lowdown on a dry mouth with braces. Let’s get cracking.

What is Xerostomia Exactly?

Xerostomia refers to a dry mouth in medical terminiolgy. This can be a condition or a syndrome. Insufficient saliva production occurs in the mouth. The cause of dry mouth can vary. mouth breathing while asleep and snoring are often contributing factors. Prescription pain medications, beverages, and food also play a role. Cigarettes are another cause.

What Causes Dry Mouth When Wearing Braces?

It is a common issue in the mouth for people to get dry mouth from braces treatment. Several factors can contribute to dry mouth. Typically, orthodontic treatment can hurt the mouth. Although braces improve oral health they can also cause damage to the teeth. This damage and change mean less saliva production leading to a dry mouth.

 

Saliva Production

Saliva production is key here. Your aligners will prevent saliva from reaching the tooth. This lessens the body’s natural defenses against harmful bacteria. You must reach a balance and help your saliva production along. You can do this by swishing water and saliva around the mouth when you have dry mouth symptoms. This is most necessary in the mornings.

Symptoms of a Dry Mouth

Dry mouth symptoms can also affect your ability to speak, chew or swallow. Take care to eat properly to avoid swallowing anything large in the throat.

Your body tries to avoid the damage by reacting to such things. Sometimes it causes problems, including pain in the mouth. Symptoms include swelling of the gums. This swelling reduces saliva production and causes dry mouth.

Does Dry Mouth Cause Tooth Decay?

If gum disease spreads to the teeth’s support structures, it can lead to loose teeth and tooth loss. Often, tooth decay results from dry mouth, which allows acids, plaque, and food remnants to remain on the teeth.

What Helps Dry Mouth With Braces?

The most effective way to treat dry mouth in braces is drinking water to keep you hydrated. Remember the 8-8 rule: drink 8 cups per day, 8oz. You can use water as your main drink when you’re working or studying.

How Long Does Dry Mouth Last With Braces?

Some patients suffer from dry teeth and some have it for months. A dry nose can cause a dry throat, accompanied by an irritated or dry throat. Leading to a sore throat.

A dry mouth can also cause a dry throat. Your mouth will acclimatize in a short while, but the dry mouth factor will always remain. Especially with aligners.

Is Xerostomia Serious?

Dry mouth alone is not an acute medical issue. It is often a sign underlying an issue that needs treatment. This may cause a range of health problems, such as tooth decay and mouth sores.

What Happens if I Don’t Treat Dry Mouth?

Your teeth will be at risk. Saliva will not be able to remineralize the teeth. You may also have difficulty swallowing.

Gum disease, tooth decay, and yellowing of the tooth will occur. To prevent the onset of these issues continue with a fully thought out oral health regime throughout your braces treatment.

DRY MOUTH PREVENTION TIPS:

There are many ways to help prevent dry mouth during treatment. Below we list some of the popular ways that you can use.

Dry Mouth Spray

An oral spray is necessary for xerostomia caused by braces during the day or by Invisalign® aligners at night. Biotene ACT is a spray that reduces dry mouth. It should always be used according to directions and with parental consent.

Sugar-free Hard Candy/Lozenge

Xylitol, found in mints, has overall health benefits as well as oral health. Also called Pur. Biotene XyliMelt and ACT are the best dry mouth lozenges. You can get chewing gum that also does the same job.

Good Old-Fashioned Hydration

Stay hydrated by drinking plain water. Drink fluids frequently throughout the day. Water is the only drink that Invisalign aligners can be used with, as other drinks discolor the plastic.

Caffeine, alcohol, and sugary drinks can dehydrate you and cause a dry mouth while wearing braces.

Ice Cubes/Ice Chips Work a Treat

Ice cubes are a natural time-release water delivery system. Just pop one into your mouth and let it melt. Also, it feels nice too. Ice chips also work if a cube is to cumbersome.

Humidifier Devices

The use of a humidifier should be considered if you suffer from Xerostomia at night. Increased humidity encourages saliva production. Furthermore, humidifiers may reduce drowsiness, as well as bacterial growth.

Stop Drinking Alcohol

It is well known that alcohol causes dry mouth. This means stopping constant drinking during treatment. If you do drink, remove the aligners if you have them. Also, drink a glass of water before sleep to allow the mouth some moisture. it may even help with hangovers too.

Eat High Moisture Foods

Avoid dry or salty foods:

  • Potato chips
  • Bread
  • Some nuts

Eat moist foods to stimulate saliva flow:

  • Smoothies
  • Fruit
  • Vegatables
  • Soups or stews

EXTRA TIP: eat food when warm. Eating HOT food adds to the conditions that cause dry mouth.

Lose The Caffeinated Drinks

Caffeinated drinks can cause dry mouth. Decaffeinated coffee drinks or water are best. Bad breath is caused by caffeine drinks.

Mouthwash Helps

Relieve the discomfort from a dry or sore throat and restore moisture with a good quality mouthwash. Biotene Dry Mouth oral rinse ACT is a popular product. A good mouthwash recommended by the american dental association also washes away food particles that can lead to an oral cavity and oral candidiasis.

Stop Smoking

Apart from living longer and smelling better, giving up smoking will improve your oral health no end. Oral dryness is lessened when not subjected to the onslaught of many chemicals found in cigarettes. A sore throat will be less prevalent. Bad breath will also lessen.

Chewing tobacco is the worst enemy of oral health in general and can add to reduced salivary flow causes severe dry mouth.

Conclusion

Staying on top of dry mouth symptoms with braces is important. Make sure you create enough saliva to naturally defend against the results of a dry mouth with braces. Don’t delay treatment because of fears

The above is a rough guide on what to expect in real terms. You can get all the information on the above from Dr. Panucci at Beach Braces.

They have the experience and dedication to give you and your child the best possible service. If you have any further questions you can contact us TODAY.

 

Dr Patricia Panucci

Dr Patti Panucci attended the University of Louisville School of Dentistry for four years, where she graduated with a DMD degree (May 2000) among the Top 10 in her class. Following that, she headed west to Los Angeles to complete her three-year residency at one of the top-ranked orthodontic programs in the country – the University of Southern California.

Along with her certificate in orthodontics, Dr. Panucci earned a master’s degree in craniofacial biology. During those three years, she fell in love with Southern California beach life and decided that this was where her future lay.

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