Fix That Sticky Feeling

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Fix the sticky feeling

COVID-19 is causing depression[1], and wearing a face mask can add more stress.[2] Unfortunately, antidepressants and masks can cause another issue – dry mouth.

Why so dry?

More than 400 medications can cause or worsen oral dryness, including antidepressants and muscle relaxants.[3]

And mask wearing can cause mouth breathing, which dries out saliva. A mask may also keep you from drinking enough water, so you may get dehydrated and make your dry mouth worse.

The bad thing is, dryness can lead to inflamed gums, cavities, gum disease and other oral issues.[4]

So what’s the fix?[5]

Stay hydrated – Sip water throughout the day – enjoy breathing some fresh air!

Stimulate saliva – Chew sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free hard candies.

Soothe dry lips – Apply lip balm made with white petrolatum, lanolin, shea butter or beeswax.

Avoid triggers – Limit caffeine, tobacco, alcohol and sugary drinks.

Check labels – Use mild toothpaste with fluoride, but avoid Sodium Laurel Sulfate (SLS) which can cause irritation.

Talk to your dentist – Ask about products like saliva substitutes, stimulants or moisturizing gels.

Learn more about COVID-19 and your oral health

[1] Prevalence of Depression Symptoms in US Adults Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic;; September 2020

[2] How to Overcome Mask Anxiety; Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic; September 2, 2020

[3] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health; 2000

[4] Dental Implications of Xerostomia;; July 2019

>[5] Xerostomia (Dry Mouth) Patient Handout; The University of Iowa Colleges of Dentistry and Pharmacy; 2017

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