Dry Mouth? Put Down The Water!
Saliva is a Big Deal
Chew, slurp, swallow, speak, sing, whistle, taste, digest. These are just a handful of things we can do comfortably thanks to good 'ol spit. Like a force field, saliva fends off cavities, protects tissues of the mouth and prevents bad bacteria from entering into our bloodstream and making us sick. When spit is scarce, bacteria flourish.
Saliva & Oral Health
There needs to be a persistent volume for saliva to work its magic. For dental health specifically, saliva can neutralize acids and keep them from weakening our teeth enamel, while providing us with minerals like fluoride, phosphate, and calcium to keep them strong. That can prevent gum disease and tooth decay.
Sometimes through intense physical exercise, sleeping with our mouth open or seasonal allergies, not enough saliva is produced and that can cause us to have dry mouth temporarily. On top of bad breath, dry mouth can also cause cracked lips, dehydration, poor sleep and a lot of stress we don't need. Kissing would also be no fun!
When dry mouth is a constant thing, that means the salivary glands aren't functioning the way it should. When there isn't enough saliva consistently, that protective force field becomes weakened and over time bad bacteria can latch on to our oral tissues, multiply, and take control of our health.
Dry mouth isn't a disease. It's a common yet uncomfortable symptom of underlying health imbalances or a side effect of 400+ different medications. As we get older we may experience more dry mouth. But in younger people, the causes of dry mouth can be linked to medications such as antidepressants, allergy meds, or even over-the-counter pain relievers. Lifestyle choices such as smoking, alcohol, or coffee can contribute as well.
Water Won't Solve Dry Mouth
Dry mouth can't be solved by drinking a ton of water. If anything, drinking lots of water will dilute and wash away the little spit that's there!
Dry Mouth Relief
There's still tons of research to be done on how those who suffer from dry mouth can find relief. Some of the ways we know of are eating drool-inducing foods, swishing alcohol-free and hydrating mouth rinses, chewing on xylitol or specific mints for dry mouth, as well as oral probiotics that strengthen the oral microbiome. Also, a bit of mouth tape at night can prevent those who sleep with their mouth open from getting dry mouth!
Spit saves lives. Save your spit!