Not many people understand just how important saliva is for their oral health. Saliva isn't simply necessary to help break down your food and allow chewing; it also contains important proteins and minerals that inhibit conditions such as tooth decay and gum disease, and it also contains enzymes that break down your food, making it easier for the rest of your digestive system to process what you eat.
So, if you often notice that your mouth feels a little dry, this is something that you should be concerned about. Without that healthy flow of saliva, your teeth and gums will be more susceptible to unpleasant complications, so here are 5 ways to increase production.
1. Chew Some Sugar-Free Gum
One of the easiest ways to increase saliva production is by simply chewing some gum. This will stimulate the salivary glands, so try chewing throughout the day, and make sure you chew a piece after each meal. Just make sure it's sugar-free if you want to avoid getting cavities!
2. Use a Non-Alcoholic Mouthwash
Mouthwash is a great way to wash away food debris and keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible, but many types contain a significant level of alcohol. That alcohol will kill bacteria, but it will also dry out your mouth, so try switching it out for a mouthwash that contains no or very little alcohol.
3. Keep Your Mouth Closed
If you tend to breathe through your mouth, the open air is going to help dry it out. One thing you need to be particularly vigilant about is keeping your mouth closed while you sleep. Some people tend to keep their mouths open at night. Common signs include a dry mouth and throat in the morning, plus feelings of dehydration, so watch out for them. Of course, if you sleep with a partner than you can always ask them if you sleep with your mouth open instead. Luckily, there are a number of ways to stop this happening.
4. Cut Down on the Coffee
Coffee is a strong diuretic, meaning that it increases the flow of urine out of the body. This is why your mouth will tend to feel a little dry after having a cup. You don't have to eliminate coffee from your day altogether, but it never hurts to cut down, and you can hydrate or chew gum after each cup to mitigate the effects.
5. Drink Plenty of Water
It might sound obvious, but it's worth stating that you need to be adequately hydrated if your body is to keep a healthy production of saliva going. It is currently recommended that men should drink around 2.6 litres (around 10 cups) of water each day, while women should have 2.1 litres (around 8 cups), though you should take a little more after strenuous exercise.
For more advice, contact a dentist.