don't desert your dry mouth
Sometimes the well runs dry.
by Elliot Friar
WHY DRY MOUTH HAPPENS
Have you ever felt like your mouth has been abandoned in the desert for 40 days and nights? Think of a time you were nervous — like during that first date when you forgot their name, or when you tried using your fake ID for the first time at that college bar you thought was cool — and you might remember having a mouth drier than your uncle Terry’s humor.
Dry mouth is normal when you’re nervous or anxious (and we’ll tell you how to avoid it!), but a prolonged dry spell could be a sign of other health problems and pose a threat to your teeth and gums.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), the medical condition for dry mouth called “Xerostomia,” can be caused by a number of things including: Aging, medication side-effects and autoimmune disease. More isolated instances can be caused by dehydration and over consumption of dehydrating food or drink, including alcohol or caffeine.
WHY DRY MOUTH IS… BAD
Saliva is really, *really* important for the healthy functioning of your mouth and teeth, and a Saliva Sahara can pose both small and large oral health risks — which, of course, impact your overall health.
Problems from dry mouth, from least to most serious include:
● Bad breath (dryness is like a dry bar for flourishing bacteria, which causes bad breath) ● Mouth discomfort ● Changes to taste ● Difficulty doing what your mouth does — speaking and eating. ● Tooth decay ● Gum disease ● Mouth infections
But, don’t worry. There are some easy things you can do to ensure your mouth is not left high-and-dry.
HOW TO HAVE A SUFFICIENTLY WET (NOT DRY) MOUTH.
Drink water. A lot.
This is obvious because water is wet and your mouth is dry. Make use of that water bottle you bought to match your backpack’s aesthetic and fill ‘er up. Then, DRINK. One ~helpful tip~ is to find out how many ounces are in your water bottle, divide 64 by that number and then round up. That’s how many bottles you should be drinking on the daily.
Drink coffee and alcohol still, if you want. Just not a lot.
The ADA says alcohol and caffeine are dehydrating irritants, so maybe lay off the Cold Brew or Moscow Mule. Instead, opt for sugar-free and caffeine-free drinks. That’s better for your teeth anyways. ;)
Suck on some ice.
Ice will moisten up your mouth as it slowly melts, just be sure not to chew on it!
Chewing on sugar-free gum gets your saliva flowin’ like the MissisSIPpi. Sugar free is that little key word though- remember, sugar sitting on the teeth is a no no.
Visit your dentist and doctor.
If you’re experiencing chronic dry mouth, chances are it’s a symptom of another health condition that should be separately treated. Be sure to visit your dentist and doctor so they can help!
Follow proper oral care routine.
The National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research recommends brushing teeth gently at least twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste, flossing everyday and visiting the dentist every 6 months.
For more severe cases of Xerostomia, add other steps to your routine.
The Institute also recommends using fluoride gel and varnish for further preventative measures, in addition to visiting your dentist and/or doctor about any potential conditions related to your prolonged dry mouth. Remember- ALWAYS consult your Dentist if any oral condition worsens or is prolonged.
With all these in mind/mouth, your whistle should be sufficiently wet- and healthy!