Dry Mouth with Braces or Invisalign
If you wear braces or Invisalign and are experiencing dry mouth, or xerostomia, you are not alone. A study published in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Dentistry found 16 percent of the participants experienced xerostomia. Having braces can increase your likelihood of having dry mouth. It’s important to address xerostomia because it can affect your overall oral health. When your teeth don’t receive enough saliva, they are more prone to tooth decay because saliva provides antibacterial properties. In turn, saliva delays tooth decay by neutralizing acids produced by bacteria, limiting bacterial growth and washing away food particles.
How braces and Invisalign cause dry mouth
Both braces and Invisalign can cause dry mouth. Our bodies are miraculous, but sometimes reactions that are designed to protect us can cause an annoyance. In this case, the annoyance is that our body sees the brackets and/or plastic aligners as foreign objects, which can cause irritation, inflammation, and discomfort on your gums. In turn, your body produces less saliva.
How to avoid having dry mouth
Having dry mouth is common, but there are a few simple steps you can take to prevent it. The most important preventative method for dry mouth is to stay hydrated. While the exact amount of water you need varies depending upon a variety of factors, including gender, age, and height, The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that overall, women need 11.5 cups and men require 15.5 cups of water daily to stay properly hydrated. Your overall water intake can consist of food and beverages, so in addition to drinking a lot of water, choose foods with a high concentration of water, such as melons, broccoli, and bell peppers. You can also stimulate saliva by sucking on a cough drop, peppermint, or sugar-free hard candy.
While watery foods help increase your saliva production, salty foods suck moisture away. Salty foods can make your already dry mouth drier, so they are best to avoid. Also on the list of foods to avoid are dry foods, such as crackers and toast. Dry foods can soak up the little moisture that you have.
Of course, do not use tobacco products for many reasons, including the increased likelihood of having dry mouth, and choose the decaffeinated version of your favorite beverages.
Consider buying a humidifier and using it in your bedroom at night. Adding moisture to the air can help alleviate your dry mouth as well as dry skin, dry coughs, and sinus problems.
Proper care for dry mouth
The most important step to take to care for dry mouth is proper oral hygiene. Make sure that you are using an alcohol-free mouthwash fortified with fluoride in addition to brushing and flossing. Gargle with mouthwash for 60 seconds twice a day for the best results.
Overall, if you are experiencing dry mouth symptoms while wearing braces or Invisalign, we encourage you to schedule a visit with Smith Orthodontics. We provide a variety of solutions to improve your treatment and experience. Our team is experienced in helping clients with braces and Invisalign related dry mouth.