Autumn is officially here, and colder weather is coming. Of course, cold air is usually dry as well. Adding to that dryness inside your home is heating from furnaces and stoves. It’s no wonder that dry mouth, also called xerostomia, is a common problem during the autumn and winter. In fact, many people find their mouths to be bone dry upon awakening in the mornings.
Why is Dry Mouth a Problem?
Having a dry mouth is more than just uncomfortable. The condition can cause several problems when it comes to your oral health. When you don’t produce sufficient saliva, your teeth aren’t getting a regular “wash” between brushings. This means that plaque can build up, allowing harmful bacteria to degrade the enamel on your teeth and contribute to tooth decay. Additionally, these bacteria can harm your gums and cause periodontal disease. Finally, bacteria accumulation due to a dry mouth can lead to halitosis or bad breath.
How to Alleviate Dry Mouth
If you’re suffering from dry mouth, there are some simple measures you can take to remedy the problem. First, try running a humidifier in your home. This may put enough moisture back into the air to solve your dry mouth issues. If a humidifier doesn’t work, you can also try:
- Avoiding mouthwashes that contain alcohol before bed. Alcohol can be very drying.
- Setting a glass of water by your nightstand to sip during the night.
- Making sure you stay hydrated throughout the day.
- Asking your doctor if your medications may be causing your dry mouth.
If these efforts prove unhelpful, it is time to talk with your dentist about your dry mouth.
How Your Dentist Can Help
Through questions and a thorough examination, your dentist may be able to diagnose the cause of your dry mouth. While dry air is a common reason for xerostomia, it is also possible that your dry mouth may be due to an underlying medical condition such as a salivary gland problem. Once the cause is known, you can take steps to address it.
Additionally, your dentist may be able to offer symptomatic treatment. For example, there are artificial salivas available as well as other medications that may relieve your dry mouth. If you’re not able to resolve dry mouth on your own, do not hesitate to visit your dentist. If you ignore the condition, you risk doing substantial harm to your oral health.