As a family dentist office in Nocona, our staff at Nocona dental understands that many patients have a lot of questions about the best practices for maintaining and improving their oral health. While brushing and flossing ranks as the two most beneficial habits for protecting the long-term health of your teeth and gums, there are a few other less well-known habits that can also benefit your oral and overall health.
While the winters in Texas don’t match what much of the country suffers through this time of year, dry winter air can still cause problems other than just dry skin and chapped lips. While it might seem hard to believe, dry winter air can affect everything from your throat to your teeth and even increases your risk of catching the flu!
Fortunately, a rather obvious and simple solution exists to combat the effect of cold winter weather. Using a humidifier at home can help improve your overall health during the winter by adding needed moisture to your home. From relieving dry skin to opening your nasal passages, here are a few ways using a humidifier at home can improve your health.
Breathing in dry air causes your mouth to dry out, especially during sleep when your mouth produces less saliva than during other times of the day. Humidifiers help to keep moisture in the air, which in turn helps to support saliva production. Your mouth needs saliva to help wash away harmful bacteria and food particles that linger in the mouth after eating. Low saliva flow allows these substances to remain in the mouth where they can contribute to tooth decay and gum disease. Using a humidifier can also help prevent suffering from dry or sore throats that are common during the winter months.
Throat & Nasal Passages
Higher moisture content in the air provides a variety of comfort and health benefits such as temporarily relieving chest congestion, comforting a sore throat and helping to alleviate itchy, dry skin. These benefits become very noticeable during the evening. Most people who run humidifiers use them at night to improve sleep and make them more comfortable. Humidifiers have also been linked to linked to a decrease in snoring, which should come as welcome news to anyone who’s ever lost sleep at night due to a loud partner.
However, the most interesting aspect of using a humidifier at night is the relationship it has with the flu. Based on the results of one study published in the journal Environmental Health, humidifiers help to create an environment that is inhospitable to the flu virus. According to the study, homes that maintain a 40 to 60 percent relative humidity are less likely to have flu germs linger on surfaces like bathroom sinks or kitchen counters and in the air when compared to homes with lower humidity levels.
Your skin cannot maintain natural moisture levels during the winter as effectively as during the summer months. The combination of lower humidity levels in both dry outdoor air and heated indoor air increases the amount of water our skin loses, which leads to the dry, itchy feeling everyone wants to avoid. Using a humidifier can help to replenish moisture lost due to dry air so your skin remains hydrated and soft year round.
If you have any questions about what other risks your oral health faces during the winter or any other time of year, feel free to ask any member of our staff during your next visit to our family dentist office in Nocona.