Smoking is a harmful habit, and it affects nearly every part of your entire body. Your mouth is no exception to that harsh truth. Smoking is the leading preventable cause of early disease and death in the United States. Quitting can be a challenge, but you will certainly see the benefits, like the prevention of dry mouth and related issues! Continue reading to learn about dry mouth, why saliva is so important, and what you can do to maintain adequate saliva production.
Why Is Saliva So Important?
Saliva plays a huge roll in digestion and is crucial for your wellbeing. After all, the mouth is the gateway to the rest of your body. There are numerous reasons why you need enough saliva. Here are just a handful of them:
- Keeping your mouth moist and comfortable
- Allowing you to easily chew, taste, and swallow food
- Fighting against germs in your mouth
- Neutralizing acid in the mouth
- Protecting enamel from tooth decay and gum disease
What Happens If You Don’t Have Enough Saliva?
If you aren’t producing enough saliva, this is called dry mouth. This causes the gums, tongue, and other soft tissues in the mouth to become swollen and uncomfortable. It is the perfect environment for oral bacteria to thrive. Ultimately, you are likely to develop bad breath, cavities, and periodontal disease. Here are some of the most common causes of dry mouth:
- Smoking tobacco products
- Salivary duct obstructions
- Diseases like HIV, diabetes, Sjogren’s syndrome, and Parkinson’s
- Blood pressure medications
What Can You Do to Increase Your Salivary Production?
If you are dealing with dry mouth, the following tips may be able to help:
- Stay hydrated so that you can keep your mouth moist. Bring water with you throughout the day and keep some by your bed at night.
- Chew on sugarless gum in order to stimulate saliva flow.
- Don’t use mouth rinses that contain alcohol.
- Avoid drinking beverages that contain alcohol or caffeine.
- Moisten your foods with broth, soup, butter, or gravy.
- Steer away from foods that are dry, like crackers, bread, and dried fruits.
- See your dentist. They will be able to rule out any underlying oral health problems.
To relieve dry mouth, try using some of the tips listed above. Smoking is a difficult habit to give up, but with the advice of your doctor and the support of your friends and family, it is achievable! Your body and smile will thank you!
About the Author
Dr. Allan J. Milewski is an experienced dentist who has been practicing for well over three decades. He earned his dental doctorate from The Ohio State University and is committed to continuing education in order to keep his knowledge and skills sharp. Currently, he is a proud member of the American Dental Association, Ohio Dental Association, and the Academy of General Dentistry. If you are suffering from dry mouth, he would be happy to help you out! For more information or to schedule an appointment at his office in Medina, visit his website or call (330) 725-2242.