How many of you have experienced dry mouth when auditioning, performing or just in general? We all need saliva to moisten and cleanse our mouths and digest food. It also helps prevent infections by controlling bacteria and fungi in your mouth. When you don’t make enough saliva, your mouth gets dry and uncomfortable. This condition can be caused by a whole plethora of reasons including some medications and over the counter drugs like antihistamines, decongestants, muscle relaxants and pain medications. Your toothpaste and mouthwash might also be contributing. And of course dry mouth can also be exacerbated by the anxiety and nerves you encounter when it’s time to audition or perform.

In researching this topic, I was really surprised to find that most “commercial brand” toothpaste and mouthwash products are one of the biggest culprits in promoting dry mouth. The majority of us are simply unaware of the toxic ingredients that are in products like this, that we use every day.

Did you know that most commercial brand toothpastes on the market today contain something called Sodium laureth sulfate, also known as sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES), orsodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). They are the creators of the foaming action in your mouth as you brush. Both SLES and SLS do a couple of other things as well. Has there ever been a time when after brushing your teeth no matter what food you eat, it tastes a bit bitter and you seem to have lost your ability to taste the sweetness in any food or drink? Do you think it’s just something wrong with you? These chemicals in your toothpaste suppress the receptors on your taste buds that perceive sweetness, inhibiting your ability to pick up the sweet notes of food and drink. And, as if that wasn’t enough, they break up the fatty molecules called phospholipids on your tongue which usually keep bitter tastes from overwhelming you, but when they’re broken down by what’s in your toothpaste, bitter tastes takes over and that is all you taste. Your sweetness taste buds get suppressed so your ability to pick up the sweet notes of food and drink is blocked out. Everything tastes bitter.

Sodium laureth sulfate, also known as sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES), or sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), as I just said makes your toothpaste foam, but also these are the ingredients that are known to dry out your mouth and can even cause canker sores. These harsh chemicals can cause damage to the oral tissues lining the inside of your mouth. When these tissues shed, they feed the bacteria that create dry mouth, taste disorders and Halitosis. And these chemicals are also important ingredients in things like detergents, fabric softeners, paints, laxatives, surfboard waxes and insecticides. What??? Who knew???

Here are some other interesting facts. The fluoride found in most toothpaste, if overused, can cause mottling (a tooth disease), and at the far end of the spectrum, cancer, renal or kidney failure and more. And, how about the fact that most mouthwashes can be harmful or fatal if swallowed because they use chemicals found in bathroom disinfectants like ammonia and formaldehyde. Then they add alcohol to further enhance the dry mouth issue. The alcohol in mouthwash is one of the worst drying agents out there.

Something called Parabens, now pretty much replaces formaldehyde in most toothpastes and mouthwashes, and is the current preservative of choice. Good to know. However here are other interesting facts about this chemical compound: Parabens can cause skin irritation and contact dermatitis and rosacea in individuals with paraben allergies. Parabens also display the ability to mimic estrogen and have been found in breast cancer cells. Another study shows that this may be a factor in the increasing prevalence of early puberty in girls. And worse yet, at least for me, is that what we spit out goes down the drain into our water systems and can eventually find its way back into our drinking water.

The toxins that you absorb, whether through your skin (and your mouth is part of that) or inhaled from toothpaste and mouthwash can remain in your body throughout your lifetime. In many of the scientific studies I have read, anything absorbed through the skin may be as high as 10 times the concentration of an oral dose! I hope this information gets your attention so you start reading what’s on the labels of the products you choose to use.

So what is the answer to the research I have done? There are many great natural products out there but you have to read the labels. Many products state on their labels that they’re “organic” or “natural” and really are not. They may contain a small amount of the good stuff, but the rest of their formula includes the bad stuff. Unfortunately, the bad stuff usually makes up the larger percentage of its content. So again, read the labels. Go to a good health food store and ask for specific help in selecting your toothpaste and mouthwash, hand lotion, deodorant, and whatever else you put on your skin. Do everything and anything you can to minimize anything that might interfere with your creating the best product you can produce when you audition and perform. It’s always up to you and the choices you choose to make. Be smart and take really great care of the self and the instrument.

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” – Jim Rohn

And I can’t neglect or pretend that anxiety and nerves also cause dry mouth. But do they cause it or just enhance what is already there. And yes, you need to continue to work on taming “the Brat”, that inner voice that talks to you at the most inappropriate times and with harsh and inappropriate language. We all have a Brat, so know that doesn’t make you special by any means. But how you choose to deal with your Brat is what is important along with taking care of what you put on and in your body. Do your own research on this subject and you will find such interesting facts, information and become more aware of what is important to you. Then you can share or not, whatever you feel comfortable with. But, you are first taking care of you. Like they say when you travel on a plane, put the oxygen mask on yourself before you place one on your child. It’s always about helping yourself become better at being you before you can help anyone else.

Now you know what I think, so I want to hear from you. Talk to me about your experiences with dry mouth and what you have discovered that works for you. I am so up for learning new things. Avanti until next time.
Ciao, Carol

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