Harmful Effects Of Oral Dehydration

Everyone has experienced a bout of dry mouth, however, true oral dehydration can wreak havoc on your teeth and gums, and even your ability to enjoy a meal. There are a number of causes for oral dehydration, including poor salivary function as a result of autoimmune disease, medication side effects, and not drinking enough water. Here are some harmful effects of oral dehydration and what you can do about them:

Inability To Swallow Food

While dry mouth is only a minor inconvenience for most people, for others, extreme oral dehydration can make it difficult to swallow food. This is can raise your risk for choking, and needs to be evaluated by both your physician and dentist.

It may be recommended that you take a prescription medication that helps enhance the function of your salivary glands so that both the quantity and quality of your saliva is optimal enough to facilitate the chewing and swallowing of your food.

In the meantime, always have water with you when you eat so that you can take sips to help you chew and swallow your food effectively so that it does not get stuck in your throat. If water does not help, ask your physician or dentist about a commercially-prepared food additive that may help moisten your food and enhance your swallowing reflex so that you can enjoy eating again.


Severe oral dehydration that typically comes from inadequate salivary flow can cause infection-causing microorganisms to proliferate inside your mouth. This can heighten your risk for gingivitis and an extreme type of gum disease called periodontitis.

Not only does periodontitis cause bleeding and inflamed gum tissue, it can also damage, and even destroy the bones that support your teeth. If you have a salivary gland problem that is making your mouth extremely dry, see your dentist. He or she may recommend an enzymatic mouthwash that will help restore moisture to your oral tissues. If your dentist determines that you have periodontitis, you may be referred to a dental specialist known as a periodontist, who is a dentist only specializing in the diagnosis and management of gum disease.

If you suffer from oral dehydration, make appointments with your endocrinologist to evaluate the status of your autoimmune disorder and your dentist, who will monitor the status of your gum tissue and teeth. When you see these both of these health professionals for regular checkups, you will be less likely to experience the severe effects of oral dehydration such as the inability to chew or swallow your food, choking, aspiration pneumonia, and periodontitis.