Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, is an oral health condition that isn't as innocuous as it sounds. Besides increasing the risk of bad breath and tonsil stones, a dry palate increases the likelihood that you will develop gum disease, tooth decay and periodontitis.
Rather than going moistureless and defenceless, choose specialty oral care products that wet the tongue and oxygenate the palate, giving bacteria no purchase in your mouth.
And if I'm in a pinch?
So, you don't have access to your specialty breath freshening mouthwashes and tooth whitening kits - say, you've run out and it's the morning of a big presentation at work. What do you do? Well, ideally, you'll already have ordered replacements online, so take a quick peek in your mailbox and at your stoop. Your breath fresheners may be waiting for you.
If they aren't, and your dry mouth is giving you terrible halitosis, here are a few quick, at-home remedies for moistening your mouth in a flash, courtesy of the Mayo Clinic and an article recently published by Inside Tucson Business (ITB):
- Drink water. It may be a remedy that surprises no one, but it's a good one. The two sources agree that downing a little water can immediately wet the tongue. However, this one works best as a preventative measure, especially if you take little sips throughout the day.
- Avoid citrus juices. This one is ITB's. The Mayo Clinic adds that citrus fruits can raise the risk of tooth decay by attacking enamel with their acids.
- Use alcohol- and SLS-free mouthwashes. A good specialty mouthwash will wet your tongue and banish odor. However, over-the-counter brands do the opposite, by roasting your oral tissues with alcohol and irritating them with sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), a detergent.
- Don't smoke or drink alcohol. These habits can dry out the tongue and leave it coated with a whole host of reeking chemicals.
- Avoid caffeine. It dries up the saliva supply.
- Use a mouth-wetting lozenge. These sugar-free specialty products wet the palate and eliminate odors.
- Relax. Anxiety can dry out the mouth (and dampen the palms!), so if your nerves are leaving your mouth as sere as the Sahara, take a few minutes to shake it all off.