Dry mouth is more than just needing a drink of water. In fact, there’s a medical term for it: xerostomia. It happens when your mouth doesn’t produce enough saliva. Because saliva is your mouth’s first line of defense, dry mouth can increase your likelihood of tooth decay, gum irritation, gingivitis, mouth sores, and halitosis (bad breath).
Dry mouth may be more serious than you had thought! Fortunately, your Overland Park dentist has some tips that can help you out, especially as we head into the colder months. Why especially now? The winter months mean drier air inside the house and office as well as dry, cold air outside, and that can increase the likelihood of dry mouth. Plus, you’re more likely to be congested when it’s cold outside. When you’re congested, you probably breathe through your mouth instead of your nose a lot more.
Dry mouth isn’t just caused by cold, dry air, though. It has a number of other causes, including stress and nervousness, certain medications, smoking, and just getting older. However, seasonal conditions also affect your likelihood of getting dry mouth, and here are a few things you can do to help prevent it.
What can you do to combat seasonal dry mouth?
- • Use a humidifier at night! If you don’t have one attached to your furnace, you can pick up small, single-room humidifiers that can help keep humidity up in your bedroom while you sleep.
- • Avoid drinks that contain a lot of caffeine, including coffee, tea, and soda. Most of these aren’t great for your teeth, anyway.
- • Ask your Overland Park dentist to recommend some oral care products that can help keep your mouth moisturized during the winter months.
- • Drink plenty of water, and sip water during meals to help promote saliva production.
- • Avoid tobacco or alcohol products whenever possible. Both can make your mouth drier, and tobacco products can also stain your teeth and are bad for your overall health.
- • Chew sugarless gum that has the ADA seal of approval. This can help stimulate saliva production while also scrubbing your teeth until you get a chance to brush them.
- • Keep spicy, salty, sugary, and acidic foods to a minimum. These can exacerbate the symptoms of dry mouth or even be painful to eat if your mouth is dry already.
If you’re suffering from seasonal dry mouth this winter, these tips might help. If dry mouth is a more chronic condition, however, you might want to talk to your doctor or your Overland Park dentist about possible causes and how you can treat it. Dry mouth that isn’t caused by one of the conditions listed above could potentially be a sign of a more serious condition, so it’s important to talk with your doctor.
If you have questions about dry mouth, teeth whitening, regular dental checkups, or anything else related to your dental health, your Overland Park dentist at Watts Family Dental is always happy to hear from you! Just give us a call at (913) 338-3384 to schedule an appointment, ask a question, or just chat with a member of our friendly staff anytime!