I had a dental exam and cleaning two weeks ago, and the dentist said I have three new cavities. She says I have new cavities because my mouth is dry. I know I have nighttime dry mouth at night because I wake up at night choking sometimes. I keep water on my nightstand. But how do I know that I have cavities from dry mouth? Why would my mouth be dry at night anyway? I chose this holistic dentist because she replaced silver cavities with composite. I am concerned that she is looking for more cavities to fill because my teeth are otherwise healthy. Thanks. Athena from Omaha, NE
Thank you for contacting Cornerstone Dentistry of Sugar Land regarding your concerns about nighttime dry mouth and cavities. Dr. Thomas would need to complete an oral exam and review your medical and dental histories for an accurate diagnosis. However, we will explain five causes of nighttime dry mouth.
What Causes Nighttime Dry Mouth?
Lack of saliva production can cause nighttime dry mouth. The causes of dry mouth may include these factors:
If you don’t have enough water during the day, your mouth will become dry as saliva production decreases while you sleep. Try to stay hydrated throughout the day.
Sleeping with Your Mouth Open
Breathing with your mouth open while you sleep contributes to a dry mouth. According to the Sleep Foundation, nighttime mouth breathing and snoring or sleep apnea are related.
Dry mouth is a side effect of some medications, including:
Read the fact sheet for your medication to see a list of side effects.
Sinuses or Allergies
A blocked nose from sinuses or allergies may cause you to breathe with your mouth open at night without realizing it. Your mouth will be dry overnight and when you wake up.
Sjögren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disorder attacking eye and mouth moisture glands. It also causes dryness in other body areas, including joints and skin.
What’s the Connection Between Dry Mouth and Cavities?
Saliva washes away food debris, protecting tooth enamel from acid and bacteria. When your mouth is dry, your teeth are exposed to factors that promote decay.
If you are concerned that you may not have new cavities, we recommend getting a second opinion from another dentist. If you are satisfied with your holistic dentist’s work, allow her to fill your new cavities with a dental composite. Your dentist may work with your medical doctor to identify the cause of your nighttime dry mouth and how to promote saliva production.