It’s all about the saliva.
It helps us chew, taste and digest food. It helps keep our breath fresher. And it helps protect our teeth from cavities and our gums from diseases. Drooling babies don’t have to worry that they don’t have enough, but often we grown-ups do.
Saliva production can decrease as we age for lots of reasons, including use of certain prescriptions medications, alcohol consumption and smoking, to name a few. But there are some things you can do to get your saliva flowing, some obvious, some that might surprise you:
Take care of your teeth and gums
The basics matter: brush your teeth after meals with fluoride toothpaste and floss daily. Avoid mouthwash containing alcohol and toothpaste containing sodium lauryl sulphate (a foaming agent that can irritate gums). Visit your dentist regularly for checkups cleanings and fluoride treatments if necessary.
Drink more water/Drink less caffeine
Boost your water consumption by carrying water with you. Cut back on caffeinated coffee. Cut out all soda, including caffeinated, decaffeinated, sugar and sugar-free.
Don’t be a mouth breather/Reduce antihistamine and decongestant use
These two pieces of advise are conflicting, we know. You should make certain you breathe through your nose, not your mouth, and sometimes antihistamines and decongestants help you do that. Unfortunately, they can also dry out your mouth, along with your sinuses. If you’re taking medications to help you breath through your nose, use them through the course of your virus, and stop as soon as possible
Use a special toothpaste or mouthwash
There are many over-the-counter products specially formulated to help reduce dry mouth, such as rinses, moisturizing gels, and sprays containing xylitol or carboxymethylcellulose.
Add sauces and gravies to your food
Gravies and plain sauces add more moisture to your foods, and by association, to your mouth. This doesn’t include spicy or salty sauces, which can irritate a dry mouth.
Ask your dentist for more tips
We can review your symptoms and come up with a treatment plan that can help get your saliva going. Call today for an appointment: (847) 223-5200.