Readers ask, we answer

Bryan asks:

“Why does my mouth feel dry before a presentation?”

Have a question you’d like us to answer? Send it to grin@deltadental.com, and it could be featured in an upcoming issue.

Hi, Bryan! It’s common to experience dry mouth when you’re nervous or anxious.

This is a natural result of the body’s fight-or-flight survival response to distressing situations — in this case, making a presentation in front of a group of people. Stress hormones produce physiological changes that can also include a pounding heart, quickened breath, tense muscles and beads of sweat.

But dry mouth does more than cause discomfort and make it difficult to speak or swallow. Chronic dry mouth can also increase the likelihood of cavities, gum disease, oral infections and bad breath. 

Here are some tips to prevent dry mouth the next time you give a presentation:

• Bring a water bottle with you to the podium.

• Before your speech, chew sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva flow.

• Avoid tobacco, caffeine, acidic drinks and alcohol, which can worsen dry mouth.

• Reduce anxiety before your next presentation by taking deep breaths, practicing your speech and preparing the room to make sure everything is set up correctly.

• Drink decaffeinated herbal tea or warm water to help calm your nerves.