Are you experiencing periods of dry mouth? Have you or others noticed a change in your breath odor? These might be outward signs that the current COVID19 outbreak is raising your stress levels. Anxiety and stress hormones easily kick up when we are overworked, have financial worries or health concerns, are experiencing negative emotions, or feeling life is out of our control. When this happens, saliva production is reduced. Our mouths feel dry. Saliva plays an important part in washing our mouths and keeping our mouths clean. Without constant saliva flow, bacteria can build up causing “bad” breath.
So, what can you do? Work at reducing stress. Ask others to help you reduce stress. Take time away from working at home on your computer to stretch, exercise and safely socialize. Brush twice a day and clean between your teeth daily with floss and/or a WaterPik® to remove bacteria that causes bad breath. Millions of bacteria live on the back of the tongue, so when you brush your teeth, brush your tongue, or use a tongue scraper to scrape it. Rinse your mouth well with water. If you wear removable dental appliances like dentures and aligners, clean them daily and rinse them before putting them in your mouth. To increase saliva production, sip water frequently, and eat healthy foods that require a lot of chewing, like carrots or apples. You can also try sucking on sugar-free candies and chewing sugar-free gum.
If dry mouth becomes a chronic problem (over a period of multiple days), give us a call to discuss the potential of your medications causing dry mouth and other factors that might be affecting saliva production. This is a common problem, so we have discussions with many patients to find the root cause(s) of their dry mouth and solutions. I can recommend some pharmaceutical products that may help. Many of these are sold over the counter.
You may want to read this previous blog for more insight (A Surprising Cause of Bad Breath). Both I and my hygienist will be happy to discuss this with you.
~ Dr. Jamie J. Alexander, Your Boynton Beach Dentist