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January 10, 2020

The Link Between Anxiety and Dry Mouth

woman experiencing anxietyAnxiety can lead to numerous symptoms, which range from the annoying to the life-threatening. Somewhere in the middle of that spectrum is dry mouth in Creve Coeur. Not only is a dry mouth a pesky problem, but an insufficient amount of saliva increases your risk of dental decay and bad breath. But just how does anxiety contribute to dry mouth? Is there anything you can do to combat anxiety-related dry mouth? Let’s discuss these important questions.

Causes of Anxiety-Related Dry Mouth

Anxiety does not directly cause dry mouth. However, the two conditions are often closely related. Here are some examples of how this is so:

  • Mouth breathing. During an anxiety attack, you are more likely to breathe through your mouth. All of that air passing through your oral cavity can dry up your saliva.
  • Acid backup. The human body is more prone to acid reflux symptoms during times of intense anxiety. The acid backup can affect saliva production.
  • Medication. Many commonly prescribed anxiety medications, including Valium, Lorazepam, and Xanax, have dry mouth as a side effect.
  • Fluid changes. When your body’s fight-or-flight response is activated, it may change the way it distributes fluids throughout different systems. Dry mouth may result.
  • Dehydration. Dehydration is not typically a symptom of anxiety. Rather, research indicates that people who are not well-hydrated are more prone to experience emotional distress.

What You Can Do

You should talk to your doctor about your anxiety. They may adjust your medication or recommend therapies to help you cope with any frequent bouts of anxiety that you are experiencing. If severe anxiety is a relatively rare occurrence for you, you might be able to cope with it through non-medical strategies, such as by consciously slowing your breathing or taking a time out to care for your personal needs.

Your dentist in Creve Coeur is also an invaluable resource when it comes to conquering dry mouth. Some of the tips they might offer include:

  • Use a mouth rinse that is designed to fight dry mouth. Your dentist may recommend or even prescribe a certain product.
  • Track your water intake. Most adults need about two liters each day to stay properly hydrated.
  • Chew gum or suck on sugarfree candy. Doing so can encourage saliva production.
  • Attend regular dental checkups. If you frequently experience anxiety-related dry mouth, you are more prone to develop dental decay than the general population. Regular checkups will allow you to get cavities treated while they are still in their early stages.

Dry mouth and anxiety are often closely connected. The above strategies can help you to protect your oral health while you are working to cope with emotional distress.

About Feigenbaum Dental

Drs. James and Jenna Feigenbaum are a father-daughter dental team who look after the oral health needs of families in Creve Coeur and the greater St. Louis area. Both are graduates of University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry (Dr. James Feigenbaum – 1986, Dr. Jenna Feigenbaum – 2013). If you would like their help to cope with dry mouth or other dental concerns, contact our team at 314-567-1777.

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11722 Studt Avenue
Creve Coeur, MO 63141
(314) 567-1777