It’s something we’ve all experienced: that nagging pain in the upper back teeth. It could…
Dry mouth syndrome, also known as xerostomia, can be a surprisingly serious condition, potentially causing problems with chewing and swallowing and even exacerbating tooth decay. Dry mouth may be caused by a variety of factors, from hormonal changes to the side effects of certain medications, even some over-the-counter remedies as simple as cold medicine or allergy treatments.
Whatever the cause, the realities of dry mouth are pretty much always similar: Your salivary glands don’t generate enough natural saliva for your mouth to stay moistened. As anyone who has wakened in the night parched and desperately grasping for a glass of water on the nightstand can attest, dry mouth is never desirable. Fortunately, there are a number of simple at-home remedies and minor lifestyle changes that can help reduce persistent dry mouth. Some of them may help you sleep better at night, too!
Switch to an alcohol-free mouthwash. Supplementing your regular oral care routine with quality mouthwash is a great way to keep your breath fresh and help stimulate saliva production. But mouthwash products that contain alcohol may actually exacerbate existing dry mouth, since alcohol tends to dry you out.
Invest in a humidifier. More moisture in the air means less dryness in your mouth. You don’t have to invest in a humidifier big enough to handle your whole house. Just using a small humidifier in your bedroom when you sleep will help, and it will help you get a better night’s sleep, to boot!
Give up bad habits. Smoking and tobacco use, caffeine, sugary foods and beverages, and excess consumption of alcohol are not only bad for your overall health, they can also contribute to dry mouth. Give them up and see what a difference it makes!
Avoid medications that may cause dry mouth. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it can be trickier than it sounds. The best thing to do is to talk with your doctor or dentist about your concerns and work with them to ascertain the best course of treatment that will minimize your dry mouth symptoms.
Switch to sugarless candies and gums. This is far from a permanent solution, but you may be able to obtain temporary relief from the symptoms of dry mouth with the help of sugarless candy or gum. Just be sure to look for ones that contain xylitol, which helps to promote salivary flow.
Look into saliva substitutes. As mentioned, dry mouth happens when your mouth simply doesn’t produce enough saliva. Over-the-counter alternatives such as Mouth Kote, Biotene Oralbalance, Oasis, and XyliMelts are popular saliva substitutes that can be found in most any drug store.
Drink more water. Honestly, it’s good overall advice. Most of us simply don’t drink enough water, and drinking more can help your mouth stay moist throughout the day. The best way to fight dry mouth by drinking water is to take small sips every 15 minutes or so, rather than chugging a whole glass whenever you think of it.
Improve your dental hygiene. Dry mouth can be a symptom of inadequate oral care. Even if it’s not, brushing and flossing daily and using a quality mouthwash will certainly help with dry mouth in addition to keeping your teeth and gums in good shape overall. Of course, you should also make regular visits to your Overland Park dentist.
If you’re suffering from dry mouth, have any questions or concerns, or would like to schedule that visit we mentioned, just call Watts Family Dental at (913) 338-3384 today!