Why does your mouth dry out during stressful times?
Posted: November 19, 2012
Have you ever noticed that when you are stressed out or feel anxious that your mouth is dry and uncomfortable? Well, that's no coincidence! Anxiety dry mouth is a real condition, and it affects people who suffer from a wide range of anxiety, from everyday stress to irrational fears and paralyzing phobias. According to the Calm Clinic, anxiety dry mouth is caused by a lack of production in the salivary glands, and it is fear induced. Although anxiety attacks may only last about 10 minutes, they can still cause your body and mind go into an ultimate panic and your breathing to become irregular. During an attack, you are often breathing through the mouth, and typically at a very rapid pace, which could cause you to feel as though you are gasping for air. In these types of situations, bodily fluids like saliva are diverted to other areas of the body. This causes the mouth and throat to dry out, which can potentially be painful and holds the possibility of lasting much longer than the actual anxiety attack. Dry mouth can be a symptom of stress, as well. Whether you are going through a major life change, like marriage or a big move, or just dealing with your job or traffic, stress can cause your mouth to dry out. Treatment of dry mouth that is caused by stress can be prevented by using a humidifier, drinking 8-9 glasses of water, taking a hot shower and chewing on sugarfree gum. "Anxiety and stress wreak havoc on the body. There is an increased amount of stomach acid as a result of stress and anxiety,” Dr. Stacey Silvers of Madison ENT & Facial Plastic Surgery told Yahoo! Voices. “Testing, including my own office tests, has shown acid reflux to make it as high as into the back of the nose. Stomach acid is a pH of 2 and can get rid of some of the healthy bacteria that we count on to keep our oral cavity healthy and hydrated." When dry mouth turns bad When we have dry mouth, it decreases the amount of saliva in our mouth, which is supposed to be there to help rinse down bacteria that collect in our mouths. So not only do you have an uncomfortable sandpaper tongue, but the bacteria that causes bad breath is just sitting at the back of your throat. Yuck! Suffering from dry mouth because of anxiety or depression is difficult enough, but the last thing you want to worry about is having bad breath. Luckily, this is preventable. Destress yourself regularly Some people think that meditation is silly, but give it a shot. You don’t have to go to a specialized facility and sit in a room with a bunch of other people, because you can easily destress in the comfort of your own home. Go to a room without a television or any loud sounds. Dim the lights, and maybe light a candle. Just sit down in a comfortable position and breath. It sounds like nothing, but it’s not! Focus on counting your breath, because it will help keep your mind from straying away. Try to do this at least once a week, in whatever way you feel most comfortable. You can even destress by going for a run in the fresh air or taking a relaxing bubble bath. In addition to urging your mind to remain calm, there are other ways to battle dry mouth. Refrain from using any mouthwash that has alcohol in it, because these types of products can actually exacerbate the issue. Make sure to use all natural mouthwash and toothpaste, which will rinse away any bacteria that can cause bad breath. Products like these will also help keep your mouth moist.