What to do when your mouth feels like the Sahara Desert.
We’ve all experienced that uncomfortable feeling of a dry mouth. Sometimes, a quick sip of water is all that’s needed to solve the problem. Other times, your mouth feels as though it’s starting to turn into the Sahara Desert. No matter how long-lasting the problem is, it can be infuriating!
Over time, dry mouth can pose a threat to your oral and physical health as well, so it is important to do what you can to take care of it.
The dangers of a constant dry mouth.
Xerostomia, or an extreme case of dry mouth, can cause more issues than simple discomfort. The lack of saliva can worsen tooth sensitivity, decrease taste, create dry and cracked lips, and increase the risk of tooth decay or gum disease. If you suffer from this condition, it is imperative that you keep up good dental hygiene to help prevent some of the lasting issues. This includes keeping those regular appointments with your dentist! But more on that later.
Dry Mouth Causes
Medication is the number one cause of dry mouth. Certain antidepressants and even antihistamines are common culprits. If a person takes multiple daily medications, their chances of dry mouth increase.
Multiple chronic health conditions, such as Sjögren Disease and diabetes also cause xerostomia. Unfortunately, it is also a very common side-effect of radiation and chemotherapy.
Lifestyle choices such as excessive caffeine, alcohol, or tobacco use can also increase the likelihood of dry mouth.
Foods that will naturally stimulate saliva production.
The extra chewing involved in munching up something crunchy increases saliva production. Some potential, nutritious helpers include vegetables like celery, broccoli, or carrots. If you prefer the taste of fruit, apples or pears can be great options. If you are out and about, chewing gum can do the trick. However, it might be a good idea to go for a sugar-free variety.
Spicy and acidic foods, on the other hand, can make the problem worse. So it might be best to take it easy on the hot sauce!
Drink enough water!
This can be easier said than done at times. For some people, having an app to remind them to take a few sips is the only thing that works for them. For others, carrying around one giant water bottle, filled with an entire day’s supply of water is the only way they get enough in. Regardless of the best solution for you, it is a good habit to carry around a water bottle throughout the day. After all, hydrating your body can jump-start your entire digestive system, not just your saliva.
Use a humidifier.
Using a humidifier throughout the day can work wonders for dry mouth, especially in those dry winter months. It works by adding moisture straight into the air, keeping the airways and mouth moist. This can be beneficial at night, especially if you are prone to snoring or tend to breathe through your mouth.
For some people with chronic dry mouth, acupuncture has also proved helpful. This is a treatment where thin, specialized needles are placed just under the skin to accomplish whatever goal is desired. Sometimes, it is used for chronic pain, other times, stress and anxiety. But it can also be effective for people who suffer from dry mouth.
As difficult as it may be, if you suffer from dry mouth, it might be a good idea to avoid that morning coffee. Drinks with caffeine tend to have a dehydrating effect. Unfortunately, this includes certain teas and energy drinks, as well. So if xerostomia is a common problem for you, it might be time to take a look at your caffeine consumption.
Alert your medical providers to your dry mouth condition.
Don’t skip your regular dental cleanings! If you suffer from dry mouth, it can increase the chances of tooth decay. Consistent visits with your dentist can help prevent many of these issues before they begin. X-rays can help find cavities caused by dry mouth before they get very far, making them much easier to treat. After all, prevention is key.
Treating the initial cause of dry mouth is the best way to solve it. When you see your primary care doctor next, be sure to mention that you suffer from this condition. If it is a consistent problem, or if it is affecting your day-to-day life, there might be an underlying cause. It can also be a side effect of certain medications. If this is the case, your doctor might be able to adjust the dosages or prescribe something different.
If you suffer from dry mouth, it can be more than simple discomfort. It can create chronic issues in your day-to-day life, including cracked lips, and even an increased risk of tooth decay. If the simple fixes, such as drinking enough water, or eating foods like apples don’t help increase saliva production, it would be a good idea to discuss the issue with your medical providers.
Whether you have questions about dry mouth, or are simply needing to schedule your next dental cleaning, remember, we are only a few clicks away!