Did you know that if your throat stays healthy, you will have less difficulty talking, singing, eating, drinking, and even breathing?
Most people only think of their “throat health” when they have a sore throat. But keeping your throat healthy involves more than just avoiding a sore throat. It is one of the best ways to promote good oral hygiene, preventing infection or inflammation, and above all, keeping your voice and ability to swallow in optimal shape.
Our throats are one of the most sensitive parts of our body, so taking utmost care and practicing prevention of throat issues should be a high priority.
Some of the preventative measures which affect the throat begin in the nose and sinuses, while others may involve our lungs, airways, and our digestive system. The throat serves as a repository as well as a gateway.
Most of us are familiar with soreness and discomfort in our throats from upper or lower respiratory infections or inflammation. We can also experience similar symptoms with post-nasal drainage, allergies, and even gastroesophageal reflux or heartburn.
Voice abuse or overuse is another thing that can cause throat soreness, hoarseness, and difficulty swallowing and breathing.
There is a myriad of different disorders and abnormalities that can affect the function and the sensations we have in our throats. Other common maladies are tonsillitis and adenoiditis, particularly in children. Excessive tissue in our throat can affect our breathing and is often a prime cause of sleep-disordered breathing, such as obstructive sleep apnea.
Here are the ways that medical professionals suggest you can help to keep your throat happy and healthy.
Hydration and humidification
Drinking plenty of water and making sure our throat doesn’t get dry protects the lining of the entire extent of our throat. It promotes adequate drainage from our nose, allows us to chew and swallow our food properly, and keeps our voice healthy. Humidification can also be helpful, particularly in dry climates or if you are experiencing a sore throat or respiratory symptoms.
Be consistent with oral hygiene, including mouthwash and brushing your teeth. There may be no greater way to maintain the health and well-being of your teeth and gums.
Research suggests that there are many benefits from saltwater rinses for throat health, including cold and flu prevention. Saltwater rinses can help with a stuffy nose because of the connection from the nasopharynx to the rest of the throat.
Prevent upper respiratory infections
We all learned this the hard way during the pandemic. Make sure to avoid being around people who are sick. Use strict handwashing precautions, don’t share utensils, consider the flu and COVID-19 vaccines if this applies to you, learn to direct your cough or sneeze into your bent arms, and use a mask, if available.
Take care of your voice
Rest your voice, don’t shout, and avoid long, continuous talking or singing. Drink caffeinated beverages and alcohol in moderation. Don’t smoke. Limit medications that can dry out your throat and vocal cords, including antihistamines.
Healthy diet and exercise
Foods that contain plenty of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables can promote a healthy throat. Make sure you are taking enough foods that contain vitamins A, C, and E since these are known to aid the lining of our throats.
Your throat is a gateway to your entire body. Keeping it healthy will help you avoid infection and maintain your voice and optimal ability to swallow.
*updated 5/5/2023 9:13am