Ever wake up with a mouth so dry it’s hard to talk? New research reveals that menopause cuts saliva production to harmfully low levels, which can lead to bad breath, cavities, and gum disease. Tamp down dry mouth naturally by…
Hydrating with salt.
A whopping 58 percent of postmenopausal women experience symptoms associated with dry mouth, according to new research. “Fluctuations in estrogen can disrupt hormones that regulate saliva and lead to mouth dryness and bad breath,” explains Sandra J. Arevalo, RDN, nutrition services and outreach director at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. An easy fix: boosting your body’s ability to hydrate by adding a pinch of Himalayan salt to your water. It contains potassium and calcium. Arevalo says these electrolytes are proven to significantly increase absorption and keep your mouth hydrated longer.
Rinsing with coconut oil.
“Many mouthwashes contain alcohol, which can destroy the bad and the good bacteria in your mouth, plus can lead to dry mouth,” says Kay Jordan, DDS. Instead, try the ancient and all-natural practice of oil-pulling, which hydrates gums while reducing plaque by 60 percent and gingivitis by 56 percent when done daily. The reason it works: The oil pulls harmful microbes from the mouth and increases saliva production. To do: Swish 2 Tbsp. of coconut or camelina oil in your mouth, sucking and “pulling” the oil between your teeth. Spit it into the trash when you’re done, rinse with warm water and brush your teeth as usual.
Chewing after meals.
Chewing gum increases saliva production at 10 times the normal rate, and the type of gum you choose makes all the difference. “Xylitol is a natural sweetener that helps produce saliva and keeps the mouth’s pH at a healthy level that won’t encourage bacteria responsible for dry mouth,” says Dr. Jordan, who recommends chewing for 20 minutes after eating or drinking. One to try: Pür Gum ($13.99 for 12 packs, Amazon).
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.
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