We’ve all been there…
We’ve all had those days where our mouth just feels like we took in a bite of sand. We drink water, but it isn’t always the magic fix that we hoped it would be. Dry mouth is a common problem, and our children aren’t immune! Sometimes, we are simply dehydrated, other times, it could be brought on by the heat of the summer, when nothing seems to solve the issue.
What is dry mouth?
When most people hear the term “dry mouth,” they get rather thirsty. Sure, when a person has a dry mouth, drinking water can help, but it often won’t always fix it in the long run. Sometimes this can be because their mouth doesn’t produce enough saliva. When this is the case, it can cause all sorts of problems! It can create an increased chance of tooth decay, infections, and even create problems eating and digesting food.
What causes this condition?
Sometimes dry mouth can be a symptom of an underlying health condition. One of these is Sjogren’s syndrome. The most common symptoms for this are excessively dry eyes and mouth.
But don’t worry! Just because your child has a bad case of dry mouth, it doesn’t mean that there is something else going on. They also could be dehydrated, have a common illness, or just be having one of “those” days.
What are the symptoms of dry mouth?
There are many different signs that your child might be suffering from dry mouth. Their lips might be chapped or cracked, or their gums and tongue might be dry. They could be complaining that their throat is parched, or you might be noticing that their breath is exceptionally bad. They could even be complaining that their mouth has a constant, metallic taste.
How to win the fight against it.
Though dry mouth can be chronic, or even a sign of an underlying issue, that is not always the case! Here are ten things you can do to help your child with the symptoms of this condition at home.
1. Encourage regular water intake.
Never underestimate the power of drinking water! To help your child drink a little more, consider getting them their own special water bottle to carry around with them throughout the day.
2. Chew sugar-free gum.
Chewing on sugar-free gum or candies helps the saliva flow!
3. Avoid mouth breathing.
It’s not uncommon to see a child breathing through their mouth. Sometimes it’s due to allergies or a cold, or even while snoring at night. Other times, it’s just a habit they’ve started to form. If at all possible, encourage your child to breathe through their nose instead.
4. Switch on the humidifier.
When the house is dry, everything else gets dry. Your lips and hands begin to crack, the static gets out of control, and your mouth can become dry. Having a humidifier in the house can go a long way to helping with this problem! You might be surprised how much of a difference it can make, even if you only run it at night.
5. Limit caffeine and alcohol.
Now, more than likely your child isn’t consuming the alcohol, but it’s good to mention it for the adults. But did you know that caffeine can also decrease saliva production?
6. Limit sugary and acidic beverages.
Just like caffeine, sugary beverages can slow down that flow of saliva, so it’s best to limit them when possible.
7. Avoid dry and spicy foods.
It might make sense that ingesting dry foods such as crackers or bread can contribute to dryness in your mouth, but did you know that spicy foods can do the same?
8. Eat moist foods!
If your child is suffering from dry mouth, try to get them to eat water-filled fruits and vegetables instead. Some examples include peaches, watermelon, or celery.
9. Practice good oral hygiene.
Ensuring your child has good oral hygiene goes a long way to protecting their dental health. Not only does it keep cavities at bay, but it can also keep the chronic dry mouth from settling in.
10. Consult a dental professional.
If your child continues to struggle with dry mouth, be sure to contact their pediatric dentist. Sometimes, this condition can be a symptom of an underlying issue, such as an autoimmune disease. It never hurts to rule any of these out! Besides, they might have some other tips and tricks to help with the problem at home!
Does your child complain of a dry mouth?
If your child is constantly complaining about having a dry mouth, don’t hesitate to give us a call. It never hurts to check things out and ask questions.