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Dry Mouth Problems when Recording?

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

January 19, 2007

Comments (13)

An Apple a DayIn VOX Talk Episode 5, correspondent Julie Williams shared some tips on how to get rid of dry mouth when recording.

One of the tips was to have water close by and the other was to have an apple on hand for yourself each time you record a voiceover.

To test this theory myself when recording for a recent podcast, I kept a freshly sliced Granny Smith apple at my desk and ate a couple of slices before I started recording the intro and news.

Some apples are more acidic than others, and from what I understand, Granny Smith, also known as malus sp., is at or very near the top of the list in that department.

Logic would lead us to believe that the more acidic an apple, the better job it will do to act as an equalizer to balance wetness or how as the chemists might say, bases (remember acids and bases?).

So far as I can tell, dry mouth and wet mouth are the same thing but bear different names. There are similar clacking noises and saliva sounds associated with both voiceover 'conditions'.

What else are apples good for?

Apples also have a soothing, calming aroma so having a bowl of them around is a good idea anyway, not to mention hospitable, particularly if you have other voiceover colleagues over to record during a session.

So, now the floor is yours:

Do you subscribe to the Apple a Day theory? If so, which type of apple works best for you?

Looking forward to hearing your stories!

Best wishes,

Stephanie

P.S. If you'd like to send in an audio clip instead of typing in a comment, send your audio to media@voices.com

P.P.S. To read an article by David Houston about similar ways to get rid of unwanted mouth noise, learn how to clean your instrument here.

Related Topics: Apple, how to


Comments


    Hi Stephanie,

    I'm with you on this one -- granny smith or gala apples have worked for me. Lemon juice is also good, (fresh slices), but you need to be careful here -- too much juice will produce too much saliva!

    During my radio days I recall an interview with recording artist Michael W. Smith. He said that backstage before a concert he'd munch on potato chips !! He maintained it was the best thing for his voice. In my opinion chips would fall into the "don't try this at home" category. :)

    Stick with the apple -- stay away from dairy products -- and you're good to go.

    Cheers!

    Glad Faith

    Posted by:

      Absolutely, Granny Smith's are the best! Water is a must, too. In fact, I use warm water.

      Posted by:

        Along with apples, I use spice flavored herbal tea (cinn/apple) with honey (not too much) seems to keep things moist and lubricated as long as it is 'sipping warm' and not too hot.

        Posted by:
        • Paul
        • January 19, 2007 12:07 PM

          Apples. They are great for crunching into the microphone if you feel the Producer's phone conversation is eating into his recording time.

          Posted by:

            Thank you so much for the tip. I will try it asap. I know about staying away from dairy products and drinking only warmish water. We learn something new everyday.

            Posted by:
            • Carol M. Hahn
            • January 19, 2007 2:05 PM

              Granny Smiths are perfect. Also , water, water, and more water, all the time.....warm water with a little honey and lemon, chamomile tea are also great for everything from pops & clicks to keeping the vocal chords warm, loose, and clear sounding. When I am in a situation where those items are not available, or for a fast fix to dry mouth, I suck on a Weight Watcher's sugar free candy called "Fruities". Passion fruit or lemon are the absolute best. I have a supply in my purse and next to my studio mic. Bobbin Beam

              Posted by:

                I have used sour apple gum from altoids and others and found them to be portable and tasty, and they always elicit conversation

                Posted by:
                • Chris Reardon
                • January 19, 2007 8:07 PM

                  I hear this tip all the time. The problem is, I am allergic to apples (and many other fruits). So, I went researching to find out how apples work and what my alternatives are.

                  It isn't just the acidity of apples that helps. Apples also work by lubricating the teeth as you bite through them. Clicks and other sounds can result from the lips catching a bit on the teeth if they are too dry on the outside.

                  Another way apples help with dry mouth is that they contain pectin, a substance that promotes the production of saliva. Pectin is often used in the food, drug, and cosmetics industries because it is a great thickener/gel former. You can also get pectin in some throat drops (Halls Fruit Breezers, Luden's), but you obviously wouldn't want to record with one in your mouth. And pectin can result in too much saliva production or can thicken saliva too much, so be careful when trying the apple trick... it can backfire.

                  Water has its problems as well. It may seem counter-intuitive, but taking swigs of water during a session can actually result in a dryer mouth. This can happen when the water washes too much saliva away, resulting in a momentary moisturization followed by a period of dryness. Swigs of water can also result in gurgling noises in the throat and stomach, so sip that water.

                  Or even better than sipping water is Pat Fraley's trick (as heard on Avi Melman's podcast): keep a spray bottle of luke-warm water handy. Spray the inside of your mouth, but also spray the outside of your teeth to lubricate them.

                  Medically speaking, wet mouth and dry mouth are definitely different (I've suffered from both). But you are correct that there are similar clacking noises and saliva sounds associated with both.

                  Posted by:
                  • Jerome Santucci
                  • January 19, 2007 8:15 PM

                    Stephanie,

                    Like Jerome, I use the trick I learned from Pat Fraley while studying with him last summer in Los Angeles: a small plastic atomizer spray bottle with room temperature water.

                    When I'm recording audiobooks or other long-form projects, I spray each time I reach a page turn. Not only does it keep the mouth moist and noise-free, the distinctive sound of the sprayer also helps mark the page turn for editing purposes after the session is done. (This I learned from Pat's class as well.)

                    Be well,
                    Bob

                    Posted by:

                      Great suggestions - I plan to give them each a try! (I really love the spritzer bottle idea)

                      Apples have always worked for me when recording - I keep several in the fridge on a regular basis.

                      I have a couple of other 'tricks' that would make most professionals squirm :)

                      I have recorded a character on the Cartoon Network for over 8 years that wrecks havoc on my voice from time to time. I never go to a session without Arizona green tea, for me it works better than all other teas. It has a mild bitterness that cuts back on any 'smacking sound'. Afterwards, (as voice coaches across the globe slap their hands to their foreheads) I always have a glass of hot tea with half a lemon's juice, a teaspoon of honey, and a half shot of whiskey (which I detest at any other time!). Not very 'PC' but it has gotten me back in the recording booth for multi-day sessions!

                      Posted by:

                        Hi everyone!

                        Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

                        Thank you especially to Jerome for clarifying that dry and wet mouth are separate conditions but do have similar side effects.

                        Keep the conversation going :)

                        Stephanie

                        Posted by:

                          I was looking into the effects of dairy. I hear all the time that dairy promotes the production of mucous, so I wanted to check it out. Medical researchers have found that this is simply not true; dairy does not increase mucous production. However, the proteins in dairy bind to the thin layer of mucous already present in your mouth and throat, making it thicker and more noticeable. So, it is still a good idea to avoid dairy within a couple of hours prior to a session, just not for the reason commonly believed.

                          Posted by:
                          • Jerome Santucci
                          • March 17, 2007 3:29 PM

                            If it isn't green it doesn't seem to rid your mouth of being noisy! Good luck it is all in that juice that makes your mouth ready to go! Best, Jessie Gilman

                            Posted by:
                            • Jessie Gilman
                            • October 23, 2008 4:13 PM

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