Dry mouth in kids can cause problems that jeopardize their oral health, nutrition, development, but dry mouth remedies can help ease discomfort and prevent dry mouth from becoming a serious issue. Generally, dry mouth is a condition that affects adults, especially the elderly as it is a common side effect of medications. Dry mouth, however, can affect any age group, either temporarily or as a long-term condition depending on the cause and may need intervention from your child’s dentist.
Symptoms Of Dry Mouth
Dry mouth is characterized by low saliva production and an extreme lack of saliva. This leaves your child’s mouth abnormally dry, possibly to the point of chapped, cracking lips, dry tongue, and parched throat. While these may sound fairly minor, unless treated with dry mouth remedies, these symptoms can cause a host of complications.
Because children’s mouths are so sensitive, dry mouth in kids can have a greater impact than in adults. Worse, especially in younger children, they may not have the vocabulary to accurately describe what they’re experiencing, masking the problem. As a parent, however, you are in prime position to observe symptoms and behaviors to determine if dry mouth remedies may be needed.
These are some of the most common complications children experience with dry mouth:
- Pain: This can be the first sign of a problem. As the mouth dries out, it becomes more sensitive. Skin chaps and cracks along the mouth, and the tongue and guns can dry out, leading to irritation.
- Increased Tooth Decay, Plaque Deposits, and Gum Disease: Saliva performs a vital role in the mouth’s ecosystem, where it prevents acids and bacteria from destroying tooth enamel, helps protect teeth due to its mineral-rich nature, and moisturizes the inside of the mouth, including the gums. Without sufficient saliva, your mouth is more vulnerable to these threats, making dry mouth remedies vital to your child’s overall oral health.
- Problems Eating, Drinking, Swallowing, And Talking: The irritation and lack of moisture can make a child’s developing mouth feel clumsy and force them to trip over words or phrases. In addition, without saliva it can become difficult and painful for the mouth and throat to make the necessary movements to eat a variety of foods and swallow effectively, increasing the risk of choking or aspiration.
Common Causes Of Dry Mouth
Dry mouth in kids can have several causes, and the cause will determine what dry mouth remedies work best long-term. While these are the most common causes, there are other factors that can lead to the condition.
- Medications: Dry mouth is a common side effect of many medications. Medication-induced dry mouth can be temporary, often when starting a treatment regimen, or may continue as long as the treatment is required. While you can speak to your child’s doctor about the complication, it may offer the child the best overall treatment outcome to continue the medicine and use dry mouth remedies to mitigate the discomfort.
- Radiation Therapy: Radiation treatments, like those used by cancer patients, can lead to dry mouth and other systemic issues. These will often clear up after therapy is discontinued, but in the meantime, treatment should focus on treating the symptoms.
- Diseases: Several diseases, primarily autoimmune disorders like Sjögren’s syndrome, can attack salivary glands, leading to dry mouth. As part of a treatment plan, your child’s immunologist may include the use of dry mouth remedies, or they may refer your child to a dentist.
- Normal Growth and Development: Children’s bodies are constantly growing and developing. Just as they may sometimes complain of sudden sharp pain, it is not unheard of for a child to experience temporary bouts of dry mouth as their bodies, hormones, and nervous systems evolve. While it may cause some concern, given other factors which can lead to dry mouth, they tend to grow out of it quickly if this is the case.
Dry Mouth Remedies
Whether short or long-term, treatments are available to alleviate the symptoms of dry mouth in kids. By effectively treating these symptoms, you can better manage the condition.
- Keep Your Child Properly Hydrated By Drinking More Water: This is the most basic of dry mouth remedies, but also one of the most effective across the board. The more hydrated you are, the easier it is to create saliva. SIpping water moistens the mouth, easing discomfort and making it easier to eat, drink, and talk. If your child has problems swallowing, a straw will make it easier for them to take in enough liquids.
- Avoid Sugary Drinks, Soda, And Caffeine: Sugar and caffeine, which are found in sodas and many other foods and drinks in varying quantities, dry out your kid’s mouth further rather than moistening it. In addition, all sodas, even diet sodas, contain a high level of acid that should be avoided as it can damage your child’s already dry and vulnerable teeth.
- Sugarless Gum: Sugarless or sugar-free gum is one of the best dry mouth remedies, as it encourages your child’s body to produce its own saliva. Pick a flavor they like and let them go to town!
- Good Oral Hygiene: Brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash after each meal helps stimulate the gums and teeth while removing harmful bacteria and debris. In addition, toothpaste and mouth rinse created for those suffering from dry mouth can help provide longer relief from the symptoms. Look for SLS-free pastes.
- Visit Your Pediatric Dentist: One of the most effective ways to find the right dry mouth remedies is to talk to your pediatric dentist. Not only can they recommend treatment options to help relieve the symptoms of dry mouth, they can begin to help you understand why your child is experiencing it in the first place. If your kid’s dry mouth has been a persistent issue, bring their dentist into the loop immediately.
Your Child Doesn’t Have To Suffer
By treating symptoms right away with safe, effective dry mouth remedies, you give your child the best chance to avoid pain, discomfort, and long-term oral health complications. If your child is experiencing these symptoms and you live in the Greater Las Vegas area, contact us to schedule an appointment at a Children’s Dentistry location today!