Winter weather dryness blues
SUMMARY: The winter is great for so many reasons, but it tends to dry us out causing mouth and nasal issues.
Posted: December 20, 2012
It's the most wonderful time of the year - but the worst for your mouth. We all know that the cold and flu viruses run amuck during the winter season, but this also causes issues in our mouths that don't make for a good experience under the mistletoe. With bitter cold weather, the air gets dry and so does our mouth. Do you ever feel like you're more thirsty in the summer than the winter? That's actually likely because we sweat more during the summer, creating an involuntary habit to slurp down water. During the winter, we aren't sweating as much so we aren't craving water as often, thus leaving us with dry mouth.
Whether you're sitting in front of a fire, turning up the heat in your home or spending time in the cold outdoors - winter is brutal to the moisture in our bodies. All of these commonalities of winter weather lead to dry mouth, which can lead to greater problems if you don't address it. Warm air holds moisture better than cold air, and although your windows and doors are sealed shut as much as possible, that cold dry air from outside still slips in. Your nose dries out and your mouth and throat may be constantly parched. Why, winter?!
Unfortunately, dry mouth is very common - especially this time of the year. You may have trouble chewing, swallowing and tasting, have cracked lips, a dry tongue, mouth sores, a burning sensation or an infection in the mouth.
A lot of people also experience post nasal drip during the winter because there is not enough moisture to keep the oh-so-important mucus in your nostrils flowing. This also prevents mucus from trapping harmful viruses from reaching your body and leaving you sick. You usually unconsciously swallow this stuff, but during the winter it becomes thicker because of the dryness around us. Although post nasal drip can often be battled by increasing the amount of moisture, like sipping tea, it can sometimes lead to other illnesses. Because you probably aren't swallowing properly if you are suffering from this, you may get a sore, irritated throat. Usually you won't experience an infection in the throat, it is more of a discomfort that doesn't seem to go away unless treated successfully.
What to do?
Are you not getting to experience the many wonders of this time of the year? There are several things that you can do to make sure you're getting to enjoy every bit of the holiday season without suffering.
Seal the windows
You may want to purchase plastic window covers for your home to seal any air that may be seeping in through the cracks. Close any air leaks in attics, crawl spaces, doors and windows with spray foam or caulk also. If there are several doors in your home, try to use one that doesn't open directly to the outdoors.
Use a humidifier
Keeping a humidifier in your home to run when it is feeling extra dry will help prevent dry mouth and other illnesses that arise from breathing in dry air. The moist air will also help your skin stay hydrated. Make sure to keep the humidity around 30 and 50 percent in the home, because amping up the humidifier too much can cause a variety of other issues. You should keep up with cleaning this device so you aren't releasing mold or dust into the air.
Use fluoride, ditch alcohol
Brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste and rinsing with alcohol free mouthwash will keep your mouth free of germs and moist!