Dry mouth can be a sign you need to drink water — you’re thirsty. But too much dry mouth increases your risk for gum disease and tooth decay.
This condition can also be a side effect of certain medications. While you should not stop taking your medication, do your best to avoid dry mouth. Saliva naturally cleanses your mouth, ridding it of the bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease. Here are 4 things you can do to prevent dry mouth, improve oral hygiene and dental health in the process.
1. Chew Sugarless Gum
Chewing gum increases saliva production, which helps to prevent dry mouth and naturally cleanses the teeth and gums. Be sure to always chew sugarless gum, as chewing regular gum on an ongoing basis will increase your risk of cavities. Look for gums that have earned the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
2. Drink Water & Stay Hydrated
Doctors and dentists recommend drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water — about 2 liters, or a half-gallon — commonly known as the 8×8 rule. It’s not a hard and fast rule — you don’t need to measure your water intake down to the last drop. But you should drink water throughout the day — not just when you’re thirsty. Keep a water bottle nearby and drink regularly. And always drink water with your meals.
You should also stay hydrated by limiting caffeine and alcohol, and quit smoking — each of these can dry out your mouth.
3. Eat a Healthy Diet
Avoid salty, dry, spicy and sugary food. Moisten your food with soups, broths, gravy, creams, and butter or margarine. Eat crunchy foods rich in fiber like apples, carrots, and other fruits and vegetables. These foods can also help clean plaque off teeth.
4. Visit Your Middleburg Heights Dentist
Dry mouth can sometimes even be a symptom of an underlying condition like xerostomia, a condition that slows or prevents saliva production and can make it hard to swallow, chew your food or speak clearly. Ongoing dry mouth can also be a symptom of diabetes. Talk to your doctor or dentist if it continues to be a problem for you.
If you continue to suffer from dry mouth, schedule a dental appointment at our Middleburg Heights office near Cleveland for a more thorough examination.