Does your mouth feel like a desert? Tough break! Dry mouth, known medically as Xerostomia, is one of the main causes of halitosis (or bad breath). Dry mouth can be caused by a number of medical conditions. Most of these conditions are nonlife-threatening, making dry mouth more of a nuisance than anything else. Before discussing some tips on how you can eliminate dry mouth symptoms, it is helpful to understand the underlying causes.
Left unaddressed, dry mouth can leave your breath smelling like rotten eggs. This can be a red flag as far as your social life is concerned. Luckily, dry mouth is very treatable and dealing with it before it becomes a social burden is a must.
1. Signs and Symptoms.
Dry mouth is characterized by a number of symptoms, they including bad breath, dry or cracked lips, sores or split skin at the corners of your mouth, saliva that is thick and stringy, a sore throat, difficulty speaking or swallowing, plaque, tooth decay, and gum disease, and a bitter or metallic taste.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, dry mouth may be the culprit. But it is entirely possible to get rid of it nonetheless!
Disclaimer: persistent dry mouth symptoms can be the sign of other potentially serious medical conditions. If your symptoms do not improve with any of these tips then you should seek the advice of a certified medical professional.
2. Drink Water.
So how can you get rid of your dry mouth symptoms? You can follow several different suggestions. Always remember that drinking water is very important. Most doctors suggests at least six to eight glasses per day.
Not only does water serve to replenish regular fluid loss, it also promotes healthy saliva production. Remember that other liquids like soda, coffee, or other caffeinated beverages often dehydrate your mouth. These drinks only worsen the problem, so follow any of them with a glass of water if you want to put an end to dry mouth.
3. Don’t Be a Chatty Cathy.
Ever wonder why public speakers keep bottle of water handy? Constant speaking causes your saliva to thicken, which in turn leads to a drier mouth. If you frequently find yourself delivering speeches, keep some water at hand.
4. Kick the Butt.
Smoking is a major cause of dry mouth. It starves the mouth of oxygen, slows down saliva production, and dries out oral tissue. All of these factors lead to the overgrowth of bad-breath bacteria.
If you’re a smoker, chewing gum can help get the saliva flowing. Ultimately, the best way to combat dry mouth is to kick the butt. Let getting rid of bad breath motivate you to quit.
5. Stop Boozing Around.
It is well known that alcohol dehydrates. This is especially true of drinks with alcohol contents greater than 20%. If you want to reduce dry mouth symptoms, avoid drinking in excess. Try sipping a glass of water after having a few drinks. This will help you to regain some lost fluids. As an added benefit, drinking water will help to prevent or lessen hangover symptoms the morning after.
6. Eat Your Veggies.
Vegetables like carrots and celery stimulate saliva production. Including the right amounts of vegetables in your diet can go a long way to preventing dry mouth.
7. Chew Some Gum.
Chewing gum stimulates saliva production. Chew gum for a short period only, as chewing for extended periods can cause temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems or unnecessary wear of your teeth’s enamel.
8. Avoid Acidic Foods.
Acidic foods, or sugary foods that lower your mouth’s pH, can be problematic. Not only can these foods take their toll on your oral health, leading to tooth decay, they can also cause dry mouth. Try removing these foods from your diet to see if they are causing your dry mouth symptoms.
9. Avoid Salty and Dry Food.
This tip is sort of a no-brainer. The saltiness or dryness of certain food can decrease your saliva production. If you have dry mouth, try avoiding dry foods like saltine crackers, cookies, toast, white chicken meat, dried fruits, and bananas. If you must eat any of these foods, wash them down with plenty of water.
10. Take Care of Your Teeth.
To prevent or treat dry mouth, you can protect your teeth by brushing with fluoridated toothpaste and scheduling regular dental checkups. Oral cavities can lead to the growth of unhealthy bacteria, which eventually leads to dry mouth and bad breath. Try using a mouth rinse containing fluoride before you go to bed, this can also protect your mouth from bad bacteria.
11. Humidify the Air.
Sleeping in a dry room can also lead to dry mouth. A humidifier can help by adding some much needed moisture to the air. If you’re a heavy snorer, or breathe through your mouth at night, dry air can worsen your symptoms.
To see if this is your problem, pay attention to your dry mouth symptoms when you wake up. If you find they are worse than at other parts of the day then using a humidifier at night will likely help.
12. Treating a Medically-Induced Dry Mouth.
Many common medicines can lead to dry mouth symptoms. If you feel that the medicine you are taking is causing dry mouth, begin by consulting your doctor. He or she may adjust your dosage, or switch you to another medication. Your doctor may also prescribe pilocarpine (Salagen) or cevimeline (Evoxac), to help stimulate your salivary glands.
In a healthy mouth, one of saliva’s key functions is trapping dissolved oxygen. Because bad-breath bacteria thrive in low-oxygen environments, saliva helps to keep them in check. When saliva disappears or thickens, as is the case for dry mouth sufferers, bad-breath bacteria take over. The characteristic bad-breath smell that results is due to the sulfur-rich compounds that these bacteria produce.
Dry mouth can be embarrassing and burdensome, especially when associated with bad breath. No one wants to be the person that others avoid due to poor hygiene. Preventing or treating your dry mouth can go a long way to boosting self-esteem and confidence. If you’re tired of covering your mouth whenever you speak, give some of these tips a try. Don’t commit social suicide!