What Is Dry Mouth And How To Avoid It
Dry mouth, also referred to as xerostomia or hyposalivation, occurs when your saliva glands aren't producing the amount of saliva that you need.
Dry mouth isn't an official diagnosable condition, but it can sometimes be an underlying symptom of another condition.
Aside from the discomfort dry mouth can cause, the condition can also put you at risk for other dental conditions like tooth decay and gum disease.
Dry mouth can be spurred on by several things, like your medications, nutritional deficiencies, stress, cancer treatments, lifestyle factors, and even some systemic diseases.
If you are experiencing dry mouth, the best thing you can do is schedule an appointment to see your dentist so they can pinpoint the cause of your dry mouth.
While you're waiting, though, there a few home remedies you can try to help ease your dry mouth symptoms.
In the article below, we will discuss several of those symptoms.
Table of Contents
- Drink Plenty Of Water
- Avoid Dehydrating Habits
- Avoid Certain Medications
- Sugar-Free Hard Candy
- Sugar-Free Gum
- Improve Your Overall Oral Care
- Breathe Through Your Nose
- Get A Humidifier
- Fight Back Against Dry Mouth
Drink Plenty Of Water
Dry mouth is often a symptom of dehydration, which is an easy fix.
Just drink more water.
A general rule of thumb is that you should be drinking half of your body weight in ounces every day.
So, if you weigh 200 pounds, you should be drinking 100 ounces of water every day. And that's just a starting point; it's often in your best interest to drink even more than that.
Even if dehydration isn't the cause of your dry mouth, drinking enough water every day can help cleanse your teeth and tongue of harmful bacteria until your flow of saliva returns to normal.
Avoid Dehydrating Habits
Along with drinking plenty of water, there are a few things you can do to avoid dehydration and dry mouth that comes along with it.
Avoid caffeine as much as possible. Caffeinated drinks can be very dehydrating, especially if you aren't drinking water along with them.
You should also limit your alcohol use.
Alcohol may dehydrate, which can contribute to dry mouth.
If you experience dry mouth while drinking, swap a drink with a bottle of water.
Smoking and tobacco in general can also cause dehydration. Cutting down and especially quitting may reduce dehydration as well as dry mouth symptoms.
And sugar is also known to cause dehydration similar to caffeine, alcohol, and smoking.
Avoiding sugar, especially sugary drinks, will go a long way to prevent dehydration.
Avoid Certain Medications
It's estimated that up to 90% of dry mouth cases are due to medications.
There have been several studies conducted about the relationship between dry mouth and medications, and they have found that common types of medication that may cause dry mouth include:
- hormone medications
If you are taking any of the above medications and are experiencing dry mouth, speak with your doctor.
You never want to abruptly stop taking a medication without your doctor's approval.
Sugar-Free Hard Candy
Sucking on sugar-free candies or mints does a good job of stimulating your saliva flow.
Sucking on a hard candy will temporarily relieve you of your symptoms of dry mouth, providing you relief until you can make it in to see your dentist.
Always be sure to choose sugar-free candies because sugar will contribute to the development of tooth decay, which will compound the issue dry mouth creates on its own.
If you aren't a big fan of hard candy, sugar-free gum is a nice alternative.
The act of chewing gum stimulates your flow of saliva, temporarily easing your dry mouth symptoms.
Again, make sure the gum is sugar-free, and look for gums that have earned the ADA Seal of Acceptance, which promises the gum holds true to its label.
Improve Your Overall Oral Care
Dry mouth can be a symptom as well as a cause of poor oral hygiene.
Improving your oral health by improving your oral routines can be crucial to protecting the health of your mouth.
Your oral routines should consist of flossing, using fluoride toothpaste, and using a good mouthwash.
Even if you don't have dry mouth, it is always good to keep up with your oral health.
Breathe Through Your Nose
Breathing through your mouth can naturally dry out your mouth.
So, to avoid making your condition worse, try to breathe through your nose as much as possible, especially in a resting state.
If you struggle to breathe through your nose due to allergies or congestion, it might be time to see your doctor to get these issues resolved so you can alleviate your dry mouth.
Get A Humidifier
Humidity puts water in the air, so a humidifier can help dry mouth by adding more moisture to your environment.
There have been studies that have shown that humidification can improve your dry mouth symptoms.
Running a humidifier at night can also reduce discomfort and improve your sleep.
Fight Back Against Dry Mouth
Dry mouth can be a very uncomfortable condition with many causes, but along with the help of your dentist, you can learn how to manage and prevent it.
If you still aren't sure why you have dry mouth, or you can't get rid of it, see your dentist for a diagnosis before you dive into these home remedies.
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