Dry mouth. That awful sticky feeling in your mouth. It can make it hard to talk or even swallow if it gets severe enough. It’s bad enough that dry mouth is uncomfortable. What makes it so much worse is that dry mouth brings with it bad breath and increased risk of cavities.
Although sometimes people are under the mistaken impression that dry mouth is an inevitable part of getting older, age itself is not a cause of dry mouth. It is a common side effect of many over the counter and prescription medications, which are used more frequently as we get older. Additionally, long-term and chronic health conditions are more common as we age. Those conditions are also associated with dry mouth.
Still, dry mouth doesn’t just affect older people. Autoimmune diseases like Sjogren’s syndrome, where the body’s immune system attacks the saliva glands and tear ducts, can cause severe dry mouth. Other chronic health conditions like diabetes are associated with dry mouth as well. Injuries to the head that damage the salivary glands or damage to the salivary glands from radiation treatments also can cause dry mouth and its associated difficulties.
Sometimes, the contributing causes of dry mouth are under our control. Tobacco use, recreational drug use, and alcohol all can cause or contribute to dry mouth.
If you don’t make enough saliva, whether it’s caused by an underlying medical condition or the medication used to treat a medical condition, a choice or an unasked for challenge, there are steps you can take to make yourself more comfortable and keep your mouth healthier.
Just Add Water
When you think hydration, you naturally think water. Taking small sips of water throughout the day can help keep your dry mouth in check. Water won’t aggravate the acid balance in your mouth either, so it’s a safe way to alleviate dryness without making the situation worse for your teeth. Sometimes, however, small sips of water alone may not provide enough relief or may not be ideal for your activity level.
Sweeten Things Up
Sometimes, sucking on sugar-free candy or chewing sugar-free gum can stimulate your mouth to produce more saliva. This approach calls for some caution. It is well understood that sucking on candies made with sugar contributes to cavity formation. However, going with a sugar-free candy or mint is not a guarantee that you will avoid problems. Even sugar-free mints can shift the pH level of your mouth to a more acid environment, allowing cavity-causing bacteria to flourish. A gum like CTx2 Xylitol Gum, in addition to being sugar-free, contains a clinically significant dose of xylitol, which has documented cavity-fighting properties, and is formulated to maintain a beneficial pH. Try to stick to products that are formulated with your oral health in mind when trying to treat dry mouth.
Watch What You Eat
Tea, coffee, soda, and other caffeine-containing liquids can themselves cause dry mouth. Alcohol consumption is also known to cause uncomfortable dry mouth. Similarly, spicy foods can sometimes aggravate dry mouth. Salty foods can be uncomfortable to eat and can increase dryness. Controlling your food choices during short-term spells of dry mouth can provide relief to bothersome symptoms.
Spray it Away
A spray, specially formulated to treat dry mouth, may be your best friend if you are suffering from intractable dry mouth. In addition to providing quick, portable relief, sprays also tend to immediately freshen breath. CTx2 Spray provides dry mouth relief, can freshen breath, has xylitol for cavity-fighting benefits, and helps maintain a healthy pH balance in the mouth.
If you need your dry mouth remedy to do a little more heavy lifting, consider using an oral rinse specifically formulated to help with dry mouth and its accompanying conditions. Just remember, not all rinses are created equally. Rinses that are formulated specifically for dry mouth will likely provide greater benefits than those that are not. Rinses that contain alcohol can dry mouth tissues more, increasing discomfort and overall problems. CTx3 Rinse can provide a dose of tooth strengthening fluoride while moisturizing a dry mouth.
It’s easy enough, if you know how, to boost your saliva and treat your dry mouth. Regardless of the cause, treating dry mouth can provide both immediate symptom relief and long-term health benefits. Don’t suffer needlessly; treat your dry mouth for improved oral health.