Everyone has experienced dry mouth at one point or another. It often occurs after sleeping with your mouth open all night, or when your nose is stuffed—forcing you to breathe through your nose. However, sometimes, dry mouth is a chronic and uncomfortable condition.
Dry Mouth And Your Oral Health
If you have only experienced the occasional morning cotton mouth that is quickly resolved by hydrating, then you may underestimate the negative impact that chronic dry mouth can have on your oral health. Believe it or not, but saliva contains bacteria-fighting properties—so when saliva production is low, your oral health can decline. Some of the most concerning factors include:
- Difficulty eating and swallowing
- A burning sensation in your mouth
- Mouth and tongue sores
- Severely cracked or chapped lips
- Chronic bad breath
- Increased risk for gingivitis and gum disease
What Causes Dry Mouth?
We mentioned a few causes of dry mouth above, but here are a few other culprits:
- Your saliva glands are not working properly, due to stress, anxiety, or aging
- The side-effect of your health condition or prescription leave you with a dry mouth
- You are dehydrated
- You have a vitamin C deficiency
It is important to identify the source of your dry mouth. For example, if you are congested, it is safe to assume that your dry mouth will subside when your sinuses clear up. Or if you are on a short-term prescription that causes dry mouth, it should subside. However, if you have unidentified dry mouth, you should reach out to your dentist or healthcare practitioner to identify the cause.
Treating Your Dry Mouth
Dry mouth can be uncomfortable, but there are several things you can do to protect your teeth and gums—and simply feel more comfortable:
- Keep a water bottle nearby and take small sips several times per hour
- Chew a sugar-free gum
- Enjoy a sugar-free breath mint
- Use a moisturizing swab or mouth spray
- Add a humidifier to your bedroom, or even use all day
- Increase your vitamin-C intake
- Use a protective fluoride mouth rinse at bedtime
These tips work for both chronic and short-term dry mouth. If your dry mouth persists, your bi-annual trips to the dentist—and daily brushing and flossing are of even greater importance.
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