One of the most uncomfortable feelings for a singer is when they experience dryness in their mouth. This condition arises when your mouth, throat and lips lose moisture and feel extremely dry. One of the most common causes is constantly changing weather. A dry mouth especially during the cold winter months is common when the air is dusty and without moisture.
This is a common yet often ignored condition that every singer or vocal student should be aware of. It is also good to know early on about these conditions especially if you have just started to learn singing or if you are a beginner-level singer. Besides, we can all agree that for singers, their voice is everything. More significantly, their voice and their vocal health can make or break their career. So, you should not ignore this condition and try to improve your vocal health.
How Dry Mouth Affects Singers
Experiencing dry mouth is common, especially in the winter season. However, it can be really irritating and bothersome. These are some of the reasons that you must catch it early:
- Oral discomfort and pain. Due to dryness and your tongue feeling dry and rough, you may develop sores at the corners of your mouth.
- A dry mouth can lead to oral infections sometimes.
- The most noticeable impact is difficulty in swallowing or talking.
- It could also lead to bad breath. While this is not entirely related or that it directly affects singing but it can lead to unwanted oral health issues.
How do you fix dry mouth and maintain good vocal health?
Here are some self-care methods that can help you avoid dry mouth and keep singing flawlessly.
When water is being lost due to a dry mouth, the consumption of electrolytes helps to replenish a proper moisture balance. Electrolytes are minerals (sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphate) that are responsible for regulating the amount of fluid in your body.
In particular, sodium cues your body to retain water; consuming a balanced electrolyte beverage will give you the benefit of this water retention without creating a bloated feeling.
When all else fails, lightly biting the tip of your tongue can stimulate saliva production. You want to bite gently enough that there is no pain, but firmly enough that you feel a good amount of pressure.
A dry mouth can be accompanied by a feeling of phlegm formation and a constant desire to clear the throat. Steam is like a natural version of cough syrup; it thins out thick mucus and reduces irritation and dryness. When water is heated, its surface tension is broken, in effect making it “wetter.” A humidifier will add moisture back to the room helping with the dryness.
By this, we mean pure honey and not honey mixed with tea or other liquids. If your throat really gets dry, you can carry a small squeezable tube of honey around with you and use a tiny bit as needed. Salivation is instant and that’s what it’s all about. If you get a sudden cough due to a dry throat just a spoonful of honey will lubricate your throat and give you some ease.
Chew Sugar-Free Gum
Sugar-free chewing gum and candy can help boost your saliva production. Sucking on hard, sugar-free candy is a helpful way for keeping your mouth moist for longer periods during the day. Make sure and use sugar-free products so that you won’t encourage dental decay in your mouth.
Eliminate Toxins from Your Diet
Certain substances and food additives can contribute to your dry mouth symptoms. Sugary soft drinks, and caffeinated beverages can impede natural saliva production. This eventually leads to your mouth becoming dry over time.
Balms for Chapped Lips
With dry mouth we also experience chapped or dry lips which is often annoying and painful. For this use a lip balm which does not have camphor or menthol in it. You can also use petroleum jelly as it locks in moisture. For some easily available natural balms, use coconut oil, ghee or even honey typically on your lips, mainly around the corners of the mouth. Apply multiple times a day as it gets washed off when we eat or drink.
Things to Avoid
Sugary soft drinks, caffeinated beverages, and iced drinks can impede natural saliva production, hence they tend to take the moisture away and increase dryness. Similarly, biting and peeling off the layer on your lips can make them even worse. The peel might feel uncomfortable but it is important that it heals itself.
You may think that licking helps you in providing moisture to your lips but it is exactly the opposite. While it may stay moist for a few minutes, the saliva evaporates quickly and results in drying up your lips even more. So, licking your lips is never a good idea.
Avoid clearing your throat forcefully as this action can irritate your vocal cords. You can skip using decongestants as these medications can dry out your throat.
These are some of the useful tips that can help you keep your voice in good form. We at Music Pandit believe that the more you know about your voice and how it works, the better you'll be able to use it effectively. More importantly, your voice will last a lifetime with proper care.