How to Avoid Dry Mouth in the Winter
What is Dry Mouth?
Dry mouth or xerostomia is extremely uncomfortable. It is exactly what it sounds like—a dryness in the mouth that makes it almost impossible to eat, drink, talk, kiss, or even swallow.
There are several causes of dry mouth including various medications (especially antihistamines), nervousness, stress, anxiety disorders and diseases of the salivary gland itself.
A dry mouth doesn't just make you more prone to cavities but also gingivitis. Dentists Glendale have noticed many times while talking with patients about their oral health care routines that during certain times of year they become lazy whether they realize it or not. This happens most often in the Winter when people are cold all day long.
Winter weather can contribute to dry mouth. Cold air can irritate the salivary glands, which produce moisture for your mouth. This irritation causes the glands to stop producing saliva.
Living in a colder climate can also lead to other oral health issues such as tooth decay due to lack of saliva which protects the teeth from harmful bacteria and acidity levels increasing during Winter months due to low humidity levels. This ultimately makes it easier for bacteria that cause cavities colonize on our teeth leading to an increase in dental caries (cavities).
So, Winter is coming! How do we keep our mouths moist? Here are some helpful tips:
Drink plenty of water during the day. Warm or room temperature water is best. If you have a dry mouth it may be especially difficult to drink cold liquids so go for warm if possible.
Use a humidifier/vaporizer in your bedroom at night while sleeping. This will moisten the air and your mouth by adding humidity to the air surrounding you while you sleep.
Keep vegetable juice on hand during Winter months, don't wait until you get hungry, thirsty or dehydrated before drinking something! Vegetable juice provides electrolytes, vitamins and minerals that keep teeth strong, bones healthy and muscles working; this is important because coffee tea and other dehydrating beverages can also contribute to dry mouth. Just make sure it's 100% juice and no sugar added.
Use a straw whenever possible if drinking liquids is challenging for you. If you don't have access to fresh vegetable or fruit juices, drink anything that does not contain caffeine, alcohol or dehydrating ingredients because these can all increase dry mouth symptoms.
Keep your mouth moist with lip balm throughout the day especially during Winter months when cold air causes lips to chap and crack making them more susceptible to infection by allowing harmful bacteria into your body without you realizing it! Lip balms with SPF are especially important as they provide protection from sun exposure which can decline our immune systems significantly leading to dental problems such as gingivitis and cavities.
Another easy way to keep your mouth moist is to eat a spoonful of honey or sugarless gum throughout the day. This will aid in the production of saliva in the mouth. Keep a pack of sugarless gum on hand, especially if you don't have access to water during the day at work, school, or elsewhere.
lastly, visit your dentist every 6 months for a professional cleaning and oral evaluation to ensure that you don't have any other underlying causes of dry mouth. Glendale Gentle Dentistry would be happy to help you out with any of your oral health concerns so please don't hesitate to call us!