Dry mouth - sounds implausible, doesnt it - like there being no water in the ocean. Unimaginable. Yet for 10 percent of Americans - particularly women - dry mouth is a daily dental dilemma.
The medical term for dry mouth is the Greek word Xerostomia, which is quite a mouthful itself. Xerostomia can be caused by dental disease, bacteria, and/or hygiene, along with any number of medical conditions and medical therapies. Painkillers, diuretics, you name it - the fact is that the drugs we take for everything from depression or diarrhea can cause dry mouth as an annoying side effect.
For example, despite our best efforts to age gracefully, some of us seasoned souls take more meds than our younger counterparts. This can compromise the composition and amount of saliva in our mouths. Case in point: older people who suffer arthritis may take medications that inhibit saliva production.
Ask any woman going through menopause and shes likely to lament that dehydration is a daily challenge and along with it, dry mouth. And for seasonal mouth-breathers like myself - especially during the spring when my allergies kick up - dry mouth is the natural result. Granted this is a temporary nuisance until the next night, and its not good for overall dental health. Why? Because a dry mouth can cause tooth decay and other problems.
There are a few remedies that can provide mouth-watering relief. Here are a few dos:
- Drinking water - yes, Im stating the obvious, but it deserves a mention here. Theres nothing healthier any of us can imbibe than fresh, spring, purified, or filtered water. For those of us with dry mouth, its imperative that we make sure our water intake is a top priority. Try sipping water throughout the day. Think of it as grazing on water.
- Artificial saliva - sounds gross until you need it. Fortunately, its available as an aerosol, a gel, or a liquid. Some oral rinses may provide relief as well.
- Sugar-free chewing gum and sugar-free mints - either of these can be a real life-saver. Speaking of lifesavers, any sugar-free hard candy can help stimulate your saliva glands.
And among the donts:
- Caffeinated coffee, alcohol-based mouthwashes, and tobacco in any form [smoking or chewing] are not your friends if youve got dry mouth.
- Also on your enemies list: acidic and sugary foods. Avoid them.
A final word for my fellow mouth-breathers: adding moisture to the air in your boudoir may help. Invest in a humidifier and sleep well.
Click here to learn more about dry mouth.