When we practice some high intensity sports such as running, cycling, basketball… almost everyone experiences the annoying and unpleasant sensation of having a dry mouth.
In people who suffer from xerostomia due to any of the causes we have already talked about (autoimmune diseases, problems with salivary glands, ingestion of medicines…), the practice of a sport, even those of moderate intensity, can aggravate the dry mouth sensation. But that doesn’t mean that people with xerostomia can’t do sports; they simply need to consider some basic guidelines for staying hydrated.
Why do we have a drier mouth when playing sports?
The main cause of dry mouth during sport is dehydration. We all sweat when exercising and the more intense the exercise, the more you sweat. Sweat is the body’s mechanism for balancing body temperature and preventing the body from overheating.
Dry mouth during sport is the first sign that your body is dehydrated. Drinking water or sports drinks before, during, and after exercise will help mitigate dry mouth and prevent dehydration from getting worse.
In hot weather or in dry climates, the dry mouth sensation when playing sports is much more noticeable because you sweat more.
Breathing through the mouth
When playing sports, many people breathe through their mouths, which can increase the dry mouth sensation.
Nerves or stress
In competitions, many athletes suffer from nerves that cause temporary symptoms of dry mouth. However, when the body relaxes, saliva returns to normal flow.
When the dry mouth is produced by nervousness before a sporting event, it is advisable to perform relaxation exercises beforehand. With practice and experience it is very likely that the symptoms of dry mouth disappear.
How to avoid dry mouth sensation when playing sports?
People who only feel dry mouth when playing sports can control dryness by staying hydrated during sport. This dry mouthfeel is punctual and will be resolved with proper hydration.
For people with xerostomia, hydration during exercise should be carefully planned because dehydration can sharpen your dry mouth and influence the performance of your activity.
In addition, as a complementary measure, these people may use saliva replacement sprays to keep their mouth hydrated during exercise. The effects of these sprays remain for a while and will soothe the dry mouth sensation.
While exercising, chewing gum or candy to help keep your mouth hydrated is not recommended because you risk drowning.