Nasal Congestion and Dry Mouth
You know the feeling: You lay your achy head down to sleep only to realize your nasal congestion is preventing you from breathing through your nose. Instead, you have to breathe through your mouth, but it gets so dry and parched that you wake up constantly for a drink of water. Nasal congestion is a major cause of dry mouth and subsequent reduced saliva flow. In addition, certain medications you may be taking, such as decongestants and antihistamines, can reduce saliva flow, according to the Mayo Clinic. Alleviating dry mouth is important because excess dryness promotes the growth of bacteria, increasing your chances of developing tooth decay and gum disease. Plus, it makes it harder to chew, swallow and get your nutrients, which you need in order to heal.
To combat dry mouth during a cold, continue taking your nasal decongestants. They will help dry mouth in the long run, since you'll soon be able to breathe through your nose. Have a water bottle nearby and take frequent sips of water or juice to keep your mouth lubricated and suck on cough drops to stimulate saliva flow. You might also try using a humidifier in your home, which adds moisture to the air and can soothe a dry throat, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Lastly, you can try using a saline nasal spray, which can significantly reduce sinusitis symptoms, according to the American Family Physician, or taking a hot shower, as heat can help clear your nasal passages. And even though you may not feel up to it, keeping up with your regular brushing and flossing schedule while you fight a cold is important for your oral health, as is using peroxide-free and alcohol-free mouthwashes such as Colgate Total® Advanced Pro-Shield™ Mouthwash, which prevent dry mouth.