Apr 20 2022

Dry Mouth in Children: How to Identify It and What to Do About It

young girl with dry mouth drinking a glass of water

Although dry mouth is commonly associated with the elderly, this condition can affect any age group—temporarily or long-term. If left untreated, this condition can lead to issues that threaten their oral health and development. So, we have compiled this guide to educate parents and their children about everything they need to know about dry mouth.

Signs of Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is defined by low saliva production and an extreme lack of saliva. As the mouth dries out, it becomes more tender. You may observe that your child has:

  • Chapped or cracked lips
  • Dry gums and tongue
  • Parched throat

In addition to irritation, these drying symptoms can lead to significant consequences that can impact daily life:

Issues with Speaking, Swallowing, Eating, and Drinking

A lack of saliva and irritation can make your child’s mouth feel clumsy, which may cause them to trip over their words. Also, a dry mouth can feel uncomfortable for the mouth and throat. Consequently, mealtimes can be difficult due to the mouth and throat being unable to make the necessary movements for digestion, increasing the chances of choking.

Increased Tooth Decay, Tartar, and Periodontal Disease

Did you know that saliva has a starring role in our mouth’s ecosystem? Saliva is responsible for:

  • Protecting the enamel from harmful bacteria and acid
  • Moisturizing the tongue, gum, and other soft tissues

Without ample saliva, the mouth is more vulnerable to oral disease. Many experts believe that oral health is connected to overall health. As a result, managing dry mouth is vital to oral and systemic health.

How to Manage Dry Mouth

Whether your child is suffering from short or long-term dry mouth, there is more than one way to resolve this oral health issue:

Stay Hydrated

One of the most effective remedies against dry mouth happens to be simple: drink more water. The more hydrated a person is, the easier it is to produce saliva. Sipping water moistens the mouth and hydrates the body.

Practice Excellent Daily Oral Hygiene

Brushing and flossing every morning and night helps remove unwanted debris and bacteria and stimulates the gums. Ask our team about which types of toothpaste and oral rinses are ideal for chronic dry mouth.

Avoid Sugar and Caffeine

Sugar and caffeine are drying ingredients. Therefore, it’s wise to avoid sodas and other treats with these ingredients. Additionally, carbonated drinks are acidic and can erode your child’s already vulnerable teeth.

Chew on Sugar-Free Gum

Conveniently, chewing gum encourages salivary flow and volume by mechanical action and stimulation of oral taste receptors. So, urge your child to pick a flavor of sugarless gum that they love. Then, let them chomp away!

Visit Your Kid’s Dentist

Taking your child’s oral hygiene seriously gives them a fighting chance to avoid discomfort and long-term oral health complications. If your child persistently has a dry mouth, it’s wise to bring your child’s dentist in the loop immediately.

At Smiles Dentistry for Kids, Dr. Matt identifies the source of mouth dryness and recommends treatment options to help relieve the symptoms. If you suspect that your child is suffering from dry mouth and live in the Overland Park, KS area, schedule a kid’s dental visit by messaging us online or calling (913) 685-9990.

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