A dry mouth is uncomfortable for kids and adults alike. Kids lose appetite or may ask for sugary drinks to relieve their dry mouth. Sometimes kids can’t even tell why they’re uncomfortable. They might be fussy at bedtime. Kids may want to eat again or end up drinking too much water– and for younger kiddies, that could mean wetting the bed.
What causes dry mouth in winter
There’s little to no humidity in cold air. You turn up the heat in the house but this only sucks up and evaporates what little moisture you already have in the house and can make parts of your body like your mouth, nasal passages, and skin feel dry also. Your kids and even the pets feel it, too.
That’s why you need humidifiers to bring back moisture in the air.
Dry mouth can lead to cold and flu
Dry mouth is a symptom of a cold but preventing dry mouth helps a lot in your first defense against illness, not just tooth decay. Saliva does a lot of work washing away particles of food AND bacteria and germs in your child’s mouth. It also contains some antibodies that act as a first line of defense against bacteria and viruses. A dry mouth means germs and bacteria clinging instead to your child’s throat. This is why most colds start with a sore throat.
Your nose also needs mucus to trap germs and bacteria. A dry mouth is often accompanied with dry sinuses. Cold, dry air also happens to be an ideal breeding ground for viruses. They can just linger in the air when someone coughs or sneezes.
You and your child can inhale these viruses, and without the mucus needed to trap them, they enter your system more freely to cause havoc.
Preventing and managing dry mouth
Use humidifiers at home and consider petitioning the school to install them in classrooms too. Give your child sugar-free xylitol gum to encourage saliva production and flow.
Brush before bed and avoid mouthwashes with alcohol. Fluoride mouthrinses and mouth healing mouth rinses like peroxyl or biotene are great alternatives when the air is super dry.
Teach your child the importance of breathing through the nose, not the mouth. You can reduce the feeling of clogged nostrils with a humidifier and a eucalyptus inhaler or rub.
We all battle with these feelings during winter in Michigan and we hope these tips help create a more comfortable and healthy environment for you and your family.
About Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan, the offices of Drs. Plunkett, Ralstrom, Makowski, Thanasas, Ker, and Associates
Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan have specialized in pediatric dentistry and orthodontics since 1968. Our family-friendly and newly renovated office gives patients and families a more comfortable and consistent experience with dentistry from the very beginning. Our pediatric dentists treat children from newborn to 18 years of age while our orthodontists provide care for both children and adults and are proud to be Premier Providers of Invisalign and Invisalign Teen services. The ability to treat all patients with compassion and individuality, including those that may have special needs reaches beyond our facility, which has treatment rooms available for children who require additional privacy and customized care options. We pioneered valued hospital affiliations to allow dental services to be performed at DMC Children’s Hospital and St. John Macomb Hospital, when appropriate or necessary, and our specialists are also proud to be on staff at Henry Ford and Beaumont hospitals.