We have all been schooled on how important staying hydrated is for our overall health. Every cell in our bodies needs water to function properly. This means that not drinking enough water will lead to lower cell function, and in turn, functional decline of all of our organs and body systems. One way dehydration causes dysfunction in the body is by reducing saliva production. This can lead to chronic dry mouth (aka xerostomia), which can result in other oral health issues like tooth decay, gum disease, oral ulcers, and eventual tooth and bone loss if left unchecked. Although drinking plenty of water can help relieve dry mouth, there are also other ways to manage its symptoms.
Ways to Help Dry Mouth (Other than Water)
Because dry mouth is the result of low saliva production, it only follows that doing anything to increase saliva in the mouth will relieve the symptoms of dry mouth. One way to boost saliva production is to eat crunchy (but healthy) foods like fresh vegetables, including celery, carrots, cucumber, cauliflower, and broccoli. The reason these foods help trigger the production of saliva is that they require extra chewing. Other healthy crunchy foods include nuts, apples, and pears. In addition, there are some beverages that offer an even more hydrating effect than water. These include milk, chlorophyll water, and unsweetened coconut water. Chewing sugarless gum or sucking on sugarless candies will also help rehydrate your mouth.
You can also improve dry mouth by avoiding certain foods, beverages, and habits. Smoking is a big contributor to dry mouth and dehydration of the body in general. This is also true of drinking caffeinated and alcoholic beverages. Quitting smoking and limiting caffeine and alcohol will therefore reduce the symptoms of dry mouth considerably. It's also recommended to avoid sugary, spicy, and salty foods. Avoiding these foods doesn't increase hydration of the mouth, but they can contribute to oral health issues caused by xerostomia like swollen or bleeding gums, and mouth sores or ulcers. To learn more about the causes of dry mouth and how to control its symptoms, give our office a call to schedule an appointment.